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Peter Wilcock QC

  • Call: 1988
  • Silk: 2012
Peter Wilcock QC
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner

Peter Wilcock QC is ranked for Crime in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2016.


Peter Wilcock’s practice encompasses criminal defence (including both the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and appellate work), regulatory and crime-related civil proceedings, mental health and inquests. Peter’s criminal work has encompassed the full range of serious offences from terrorism to professional crime and fraud.

Since taking silk in 2012 Peter has been instructed in the Hillsborough Inquests (representing seven families), five murder trials, the Birmingham riots trial (during which it was alleged the defendants attempted to shoot down a police helicopter), two cases of rape and child cruelty, and an allegation of preparing for acts of terrorism. In addition, he has acted in a number of high-profile criminal appeals including the cases of Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon. He is currently advising a number of high-profile applicants whose cases are before the CCRC and is instructed in a high-profile multi-million pound fraud. As a junior, Peter appeared in many well-publicised successful appeals including Lorraine Harris, Suzanne Holdsworth and Ian Gay.

Peter sits as a Tribunal Judge in the First-tier Tribunal, Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (Mental Health) and is particularly interested in cases raising psychiatric issues.

What others say

Peter has been recommended in the Chambers UK Bar Guide for Crime for the past eight years.

“The type of counsel you could never go wrong with’.
Legal 500, 2010

“All-round excellent”
Legal 500, 2009.

Significant Cases since 2010

R v Willis (November 2015)
Represented Defendant in conspiracy to murder involving a shooting. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v Scott-Wasey (September 2015)
Murder raising defence of diminished responsibility. This case was reported in the Evening Standard.

R v Bruzas (March 2015)
Double murder of husband and wife in their own bedroom after house was broken into. This case was reported in the national press, including by the BBC, The Telegraph and the Mirror.

R v X (July 2013)
Represented foster carer acquitted of abusing children in her care.

R v Marius (February 2013 – June 2013)
Represented defendant acquitted of murder. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v Kearns (May 2013 – June 2013)
Represented defendant convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v Mahmood (April 2013)
Represented defendant who pleaded guilty to preparing for an acts of terrorism. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v D (December 2012)
Represented mother acquitted of causing life-changing injuries to her six-month-old child.

R v X (October 2012)
Represented defendant acquitted of allegation of historic child rape.

R v Laing (2012)
Represented defendant accused of planning and participating in attempt to lure and attack police officers during the 2011 Birmingham riots during which shots were fired at a police helicopter. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v H (2012)
Represented acquitted defendant accused of armed robbery.

R v Gaskell (2011)
Represented acquitted defendant accused of conspiracy to rig tender for supply of over £1 million of copper cable to Thameslink project.

R v Malik (2011)
Represented defendant accused of soliciting to murder by encouraging undercover police officer to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v B (2011)
Represented defendant accused of conspiring to murder the ex-wife of a member of well-known criminal gang.

R v Lee (2011)
Represented defendant, as leading junior, accused of being part of gangland “hit squad” attempting to murder member of rival gang.

R v Arafat Waheed Khan (2010)
Represented defendant convicted of involvement in plot to blow up transatlantic airliners. This case was reported by the BBC.

Appellate Cases

R v Nealon
Represented appellant in suucesful appeal – based on fresh DNA evidence – against his conviction for attempted rape. This case was covered by the BBC, the Guardian, and Independent.

R v Thompson (2013 EWCA Crim 1746)
Represented appellant in against conviction for murder based on trial judge’s failure to leave the partial defence of provocation.

R v Malik (2013 EWCA Crim 1649)
Represented appellant in appeal against conviction for soliciting to murder based on interplay between conduct of co-accused’s case and propriety of resulting summing-up.

R v Hallam (2012)
Represented appellant in his successful appeal against conviction for murder following a CCRC referral. This case was covered by the BBC.

R v Traynor (2012)
Represented appellant in his appeal against conviction for murdering his wife following a CCRC referral.

R v Cort (2011) EWCA Crim 1597
Represented solicitor in his appeal against his conviction for murdering his professional partner.

R v Lane (2011) 2011 EWCA Crim 2745)
Represented appellants, following referral by CCRC, in their appeal against conviction for blackmail.

R v Bailey (2011) EWCA Crim 1124
Represented appellant in appeal against minimum term imposed in relation to his conviction for murder.

R v Mackinnon 
Represented appellant in appeal against sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP).

R v Arafat Khan (2011) EWCA Crim 1260
Represented appellant in appeal against conviction for murder arising out of “airlines” case.

R v Francis No 2 (2011) EWCA Crim 375
Represented appellant in appeal (following CCRC referral) against convictions for drug offences.

R v M (2010)
Represented appellant in successful appeal against conviction for rape. Appeal based on fresh evidence resulting from application to the CCRC.


Hillsborough (2013 – 2016)
Peter represented seven families during the Hillsborough Inquests, in which the 96 people who died were found to have been unlawfully killed. His questioning at the inquest received widespread publicity. He led the families’ questioning extensively on the topics of stadium safety, police failings in controlling the build-up of supporters and police attempts to “cover-up” the disaster. This included questioning many of the senior officers involved in the disaster – including some of the match commanders (BBC 2nd October 2014), officers involved in the immediate police PR response to the disaster (Daily Mirror 20 April 2015), Sir Norman Bettison, former Chief Constable of Merseyside police (BBC 5th May 2015), junior police officers (Guardian 18 September 2014, ITV 22nd September 2014) and stadium engineers (BBC 4th June 2014).

Wells (2010)
Coroner’s inquest into death of patient detained under Mental Health Acts who was able to hang himself despite nominally being on five-minute observations. The jury returned a narrative verdict critical of the detaining authority.

Mola (2009)
Coroner’s inquest into death of 23-year-old prisoner, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in his teens, who died of smoke inhalation after setting fire to cardboard furniture in his cell. Jury verdict was critical of decision by prison staff to allow him access to lighting materials given his previous history of starting fires both during previous prison sentences and outside. Inquest also covered prison service policy in relation to use of cardboard furniture and inaction in relation to implementation of cell rescue equipment.

Fearon (2006)
Coroner’s inquest into shootings at Turnmills nightclub in April 2003 raising issues of police response to information they had received in advance of the shootings. Jury found that that information was not “communicated effectively between the relevant parties”, and that better communication might “have led to a more proactive action plan”. This case was reported in the Guardian.


Member of 2010 Law Commission working party on “unfitness to plead – consultation paper No 197”
‘A timely reminder’ 158 New Law Journal 466 2008

‘Fresh Evidence in Criminal Appeals – Pendleton revisited,’ Archbold News December 2006

Article on the defence of provocation – Solicitors Journal May 2006

‘Criminal Justice Act 2003’ New Law Journal 2004

‘Fresh Evidence in the Court of Appeal; Pendleton – a Case Note’ New Law Journal 2002

‘Fitness to Plead Procedure: An adequate Protection?’ New Law Journal 2002. 439

‘Crime & Disorder Act’ LAG January 1999


Before joining Garden Court Chambers, Peter practised at Tooks Chambers. Since 2004, Peter has been a tribunal judge on the Mental Health Review Tribunal. He was appointed as an appraiser for Tribunals Service (Mental Health) in October 2009. He was a member of the 2010 Law Commission working party on “unfitness to plead – consultation paper No 197”.