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Terry McGuinness

  • Call: 2009
Terry McGuinness
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner


Terry McGuinness specialises in inquests, civil actions against the police and criminal law.


Terry has strong expertise in cases of deaths in prison which engage Article 2 ECHR. They include the inquest into the death of Connor Smith at HMP Altcourse, reported in the local press; the inquest into the death of Prince Thomas at HMP Brixton; and the inquest into the death of Brian Whitworth at HMP Wakefield.

In March 2015 Terry represented the family of Adnan Rafiq, a young prisoner murdered by fellow prisoners at HMP Hewell. The jury returned a conclusion of unlawful killing with a critical narrative highlighting the failure by prison staff to consider whether Adnan was at risk. The inquest was reported in national and local media.

In June 2015 Terry represented the family of Colin Berry who died following a struggle with an officer during the execution of a drugs warrant at his home. The case was widely reported in the local and national media, including the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Independent.

In December 2013 he represented the bereaved family of Wsam Noorwali, a 14 month old infant who died following ingestion of a button battery. In a narrative verdict the coroner criticised the hospital recording a number of ‘missed opportunities’ to treat Wsam. The inquest was reported in the national media, including by the BBC, in The Telegraph, in the Daily Mail and in the Daily Mirror.

Terry assisted Leslie Thomas QC in the inquest into the death of Joel Dever in April 2013.

Terry is a member of the INQUEST Lawyers’ Group and has contributed to Inquest Law magazine.

Civil actions against the police

Terry has a burgeoning practice in civil claims against public bodies, with a particular focus on actions against the police. He frequently advises on false imprisonment, assault, trespass to goods and property, malicious prosecutions and misfeasance in public office, as well as on potential claims under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Criminal law

Terry is a dedicated criminal defence practitioner. He is entrusted to defend in cases of seriousness and complexity and his busy practice encompasses the full range of criminal offences including murder. He has a particular interest in opposing civil applications made in the criminal courts (e.g. ASBOs, football banning orders).

As a former youth mentor, Terry is mindful of the law’s greater impact on vulnerable defendants and is committed to continuing to represent children and young people in the Youth Court. He represented many young, first-time offenders prosecuted following the 2011 riots in London.

Terry regularly advises convicted prisoners on the merits of out of time appeals against conviction and sentence.


  • R v Mullings – Leicester house-fire murders, widely reported multi-handed trial, led by Dexter Dias QC
  • R v Stokes – S.18 GBH
  • R v Stevens – S.18 GBH
  • R v Ali – Multi-handed case of kidnapping, assault and robbery of two youths
  • R v Socha – Aggravated burglary

Public order offences

  • R v Jamil – Defended student of hitherto good character who had attacked police lines during disturbances in Tottenham in August 2011
  • R v Tijani – Burglary (of cash register) following the looting of Evans Cycles on Chalk Farm Road during disturbances across London in August 2011
  • R v Bonwick – post-conviction football banning order application successfully opposed

Sexual offences

  • R v Aristidou – Sexual assault case involving a taxi driver and young passenger
  • R v X – Multi-handed sexual assault case where defendants and complainant were classmates
  • R v SU – Two-handed sexual assault case where defendants and complainant attended the same school

Drugs offences

  • R v PHT – large scale cannabis ‘farms’
  • R v Malekebu – Conspiracy to supply class A drugs
  • R v Austin – Conspiracy to produce cannabis

Public justice/ other offences

  • R v Kang – Perverting course of justice
  • R v MF – Perverting course of justice and ABH
  • R v Deegan – Attempt to smuggle SIM card into HMP Pentonville

Lectures and seminars

Terry was a guest lecturer on the Geopolitics, Territory and Security Studies MA at King’s College London from 2011 to 2013, lecturing on the history of the International Court of Justice and on the resolution of territorial disputes.

Terry addressed the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in both 2014 and 2015, speaking on the law and practice of human rights.

Terry has conducted seminars for Young Legal Aid Lawyers and at Garden Court Chambers for pupil barristers and trainee solicitors.

Background and education

Before coming to the Bar Terry worked as director of a youth mentoring charity in Belfast. In this role he addressed a wide variety of audiences, from university students on campus to key policy makers at a major conference on Irish and UK government support for the voluntary sector. He has brought his experience as a mentor to inner-city teens to his work in the Youth Court. Solicitors have recognised his ability to quickly put vulnerable and young clients at ease and to gain their trust and confidence.

Terry studied law at Queen’s University Belfast where he was awarded the Edgar Graham Memorial Scholarship for research in public law. He volunteered as an observer at the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal for the Committee for the Administration of Justice and as a researcher with the Children’s Law Centre, studying best practice guides for the teaching of human rights in schools. As a student on the Bar Vocational Course he was a finalist in the inaugural Times/ Herbert Smith advocacy competition and won the Middle Temple’s Lechmere Prize for an essay on constitutional reform.


The Confiscation Manual, (with Kieran Vaughan QC, Tom Wainwright and James O’Hara), Sweet & Maxwell, 2015

‘Insight’ (Westlaw online legal encyclopaedia) entries on the fitness of a defendant to plead and on appeals by way of case stated

‘A Necessary Evil?’, Counsel Magazine, October 2013

House of Commons Library briefings: