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Henry Blaxland QC

Year of Call: 1978 | Year of Silk: 2002

"His approach to cases is fabulous and he is able to command a courtroom with ease."

Chambers UK, 2021 (Crime, Star Individual)

"Superior advocacy skills and substantial gravitas to proceedings. An excellent advocate."

Chambers UK, 2021 (Financial Crime, Band 1)

"Fearless in court, real depth of insight into the evidential issues in a case, an uncanny ability to re-analyse and breathe life into a case."

Legal 500, 2021 (Crime)

"A cerebral lawyer able to bring the humanity into otherwise dry frauds."

Legal 500, 2021 (Fraud)

“Will go down as a pre-eminent barrister who was at forefront of modern slavery law.”

Chambers UK, 2020 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)


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Widely recognised as a leading criminal silk, Henry Blaxland QC's practice encompasses fraud, terrorism, homicide and sexual offences. He is often instructed in appellate matters. Henry is a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple.

Henry is ranked as Star Individual in Chambers and Partners 2021, London (Bar), Crime and as a Leading Silk in the Legal 500 2021. He was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017 and is the winner of Crime Silk of the Year for Legal 500 Awards 2019. Henry was featured as Times Lawyer of the Week in 2021. 

Henry has practised in criminal defence work for his entire career at the Bar. He has appeared in many high-profile homicide trials at the Old Bailey. His principal areas of work now comprise fraud, with a specialism in confiscation, and terrorist cases with an international dimension.

He is widely known for his appellate practice, acting in cases referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). He also appears for appellants in extradition cases.

Criminal Defence


General crime

Over the years Henry has acted for defendants charged with murder, manslaughter, serious armed robbery and drugs offences. His work also covers the entire gamut of criminal defence. He successfully represented the principal of a therapeutic community for disturbed children in a five-month trial at Bristol Crown Court and appeared for a defendant charged with conspiracy to rape and murder based entirely on the content of internet chat-room discussions (R v Hedgcock). He succeeded in getting the indictment against the DJ Jonathan King for historic sexual offences stayed as an abuse of process. He recently acted for John Letts, charged with funding terrorism by sending money to his son in Syria.


He has been instructed in a number of high-profile terrorism cases. He acted for Errol Incedal, whose case was heard in secret and for John Downey, charged with involvement in the Hyde Park bomb in 1982. He also acted for Shajul Islam, a medical doctor accused of the kidnap of two journalists for a terrorist purpose in Syria. He successfully defended Mohammed Gulzar, alleged to be one of the masterminds behind the transatlantic airline plot, and Waheed Ali, one of only three people prosecuted for involvement in the 7 July London tube bombing.

Notable Cases

General crime

R v Kiki Muddar
Defendant charged with the murder of the eight year old daughter of a woman she befriended. The case was widely reported, including by the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.

R v Kemi Adeyoola
Much-publicised trial at Central Criminal Court acting for 17-year-old girl charged with the murder of an 84-year-old woman, who had written a "blue-print for murder" diary.


R v Anis Sardar
Defendant charged with murder of an American soldier in Iraq in 2007 as a result of fingerprints recovered from a roadside bomb. This case was reported by the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Evening Standard.

R v Bherlin Gildo
The prosecution offered no evidence against man charged with terrorist offences following abuse of process submission. This case was reported by the Guardian and in The Telegraph.

R v John Downey
Successful abuse of process submission for man charged with 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing. This case has been widely reported, including by the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.

R v Shajul Islam
Medical doctor charged with involvement in the kidnap of two journalists in Syria. Prosecution offered no evidence. This case was reported by The Telegraph, the BBC and The Guardian.

R v Mohammed Chowdhury
Terrorist plot to plant a bomb in the London stock exchange. This case was reported in The Guardian.

R v AY (Court of Appeal)
Decision on ambit of 'reasonable excuse' for possession of terrorist material.

R v Waheed Ali
Defendant alleged to have been involved with the 7/7 London tube bombers.

R v Hyrbyair Marri
Defendant alleged to be involved with a terrorist organisation in Pakistani Baluchistan.

R v Al-Daour
So-called 'cyber terrorism' incitement case.

R v Abdul Saleem
First defendant in trial of Omar Brooks and others for inciting terrorist murder in speeches at Regents Park Mosque.

R v Gulzar
The acquitted defendant in the terrorist conspiracy to detonate bombs on transatlantic airlines.

R v Attilla Ahmet
Terrorist incitement case.

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Mucelli v Sec of State for the Home Dept
Extradition judicial review concerning an Albanian national.

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Financial Crime and Confiscation


Henry is ranked for Financial Crime in Chambers and Partners 2018.

He has developed a specialism in serious fraud and money laundering cases. He represented former broker Darrell Read, who was acquitted of conspiracy to defraud arising from the allegations of fixing the Libor rates. He has appeared in cases in which accountants and solicitors have been prosecuted. He defended a solicitor accused of conspiracy to defraud arising from the coal mining business in South Wales, in which the co-defendants included a leading insolvency QC, two partners in a solicitors firm and two company directors. The judge dismissed the charges following complex legal submissions.

Henry has also represented a solicitor charged with involvement in the attempted fraudulent take-over of Sheffield United Football Club. He has appeared in large scale VAT carousel fraud cases, including Operation Emersed (in which he represented the principal defendant) and Operation Euripus, the largest such fraud to be prosecuted. He successfully argued against a claim for a £5m confiscation order (R v Bhabdeep Chahal) both at first instance and on the prosecutor's unsuccessful appeal.

Notable Cases

R v Clockwork Apparel and others
Defendant charged with involvement in commercial scale trading in counterfeit clothing. Appeal to Supreme Court on preliminary point of law. Remitted to Crown Court culminating in acquittal of all defendants.

R v Urumov
Defendant charged with defrauding Russian bank out of $170 million. The case has been reported in the financial press, including by Bloomberg.

R v Darrell Read
The defendant was charged with conspiracy to defraud by manipulating the Libor rate and was the sixth broker to be found not guilty by a jury. The case was widely reported, including by the Guardian, Financial Times and BBC.

R v Frances Bodman
Successful application to dismiss for solicitor charged with conspiracy to defraud arising from the conduct of mining company Celtic Energy. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v James and Miranda Sanders
Highest value insider dealer prosecution brought by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). This case was reported in The Guardian.

R v Mohammed Amir
Pakistani cricket match fixing case. This case was widely reported, including by The Telegraph, the BBC and The Independent.

R v Bhabdeep Chahal
Operation Duma carousel fraud.

R v Hashib Apabhai
Operation Euripus carousel fraud. Reported case in Court of Appeal on application of bad character provisions.

R v Craig Johnson
Principal defendant in Operation Emersed - major carousel fraud which lasted over a year.

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Criminal Appeals


A significant part of Henry's practice has involved representing appellants in cases referred to the Court of Appeal by the CCRC. He has been instructed in some of the most celebrated miscarriage of justice cases in the last 20 years, including Sam Hallam, Suzanne Holdsworth, the Carl Bridgewater murder case, Derek Bentley, James Hanratty and the M25 three.

He has an almost unrivalled experience of this type of work and has been centrally involved in the development of the Court of Appeal's jurisprudence. He has appeared in two of the leading cases concerning the court's approach to the prosecution of victims of human trafficking. He acted for Mohammed Amir, the young Pakistani fast bowler accused of involvement in match fixing.

Notable Cases

R v Sam Hallam
Widely publicised miscarriage of justice appeal. This case was reported in The Guardian.

Hayes v Chief Constable of Liverpool [2011] EWCA Civ 911 (Court of Appeal Civil Division)
Leading case on ambit of power of arrest in Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

R v Suzanne Holdsworth
Successful appeal of woman convicted of the murder of a child she was babysitting. More information about this case can be found on the Garden Court Chambers website.

R v Whomes and Steele (Court of Appeal) [2006]
CCRC reference appeal for the defendants convicted of the 'Essex Boys' Rettendon Range Rover murders.

R v Don Pendleton H.L. [2002] 1 WLR
Successful appeal in CCRC reference. The leading case on the test in cases involving fresh evidence.

R v Dudley and Maynard
The 'torso murders' - notorious 1970s gang-land murder case referred to Court of Appeal by CCRC.

R v Derek Bentley [2001] 1 Cr App R 21
The Craig and Bentley murder case and now the leading authority on the Court of Appeal's approach to developments in the law since conviction.

R v Danny McNamee
Appeal of the man alleged to be an IRA master bomber, said to have made the notorious Hyde Park bomb.

R v Johnson, Rowe and Davis [2001] 1 Cr App R 115
The appeal of the M25 three and the leading authority on the relationship between the Court of Appeal's jurisdiction to quash convictions and the determination of a breach of Article 6 by the European Court of Human Rights.

R v Craven [2001] 2 Cr App R 12:
CCRC reference of conviction for murder, in which fresh DNA evidence became available following the referral to the court.

R v Cole 90 Cr App R 478
The leading case on the interpretation of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 re the reading of witness statements.

Goswell v The Commissioner of Police
Appeal against record award of damages against the Police.

R v Colin Wallace
Appeal against conviction for manslaughter by former army information officer in Northern Ireland who alleged dirty tricks by MI5.

R v Hickey & Ors
The Carl Bridgewater murder appeal.

R v Georgiades 89 Cr App R 206
Mens rea in the offence of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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Civil Liberties and Human Rights


Henry is ranked for Civil Liberties and Human Rights in the Legal 500.

He has always concentrated on civil liberties and human rights work. In the 1980s and 1990s he represented defendants in major criminal trials arising from the miners' strike, the protest against the Poll Tax and the riot at Campsfield House immigration detention centre. In 2010 he was involved in the much publicised successful defence of political activists charged with causing £180,000 worth of damage to an arms factory at the time of the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

He has appeared for appellants in the Privy Council facing the death penalty. He represented a witness appearing before the Bloody Sunday tribunal, chaired by Lord Saville. Henry also practises in extradition and has appeared in the Divisional Court for appellants resisting their extradition to the USA and to Albania.

Inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga
Henry acted for Mr Mubenga's widow. The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing, which led to the criminal prosecution of the G4S guards who were restraining him. The case was widely reported, including by the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.

Notable Cases

DPP v Ziegler and Others [2019] 1 Cr.App.R.32
Leading case on issue of lawful excuse in obstruction of the highway.

R v Joseph [2017] 1 Cr.App.R. 33
Final word from the Court of Appeal on the approach to the prosecution of victims of trafficking.

R v THN and others [2013] 2 Cr.App.R. 23
Further development of the law concerning defendants as victims of trafficking.

R v M, B and G [2011] 1 Cr.App.R 12: Leading case on abuse of process in context of human trafficking.

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Youth Justice & Child Rights

Henry frequently represents children and young people charged with serious criminal offences at trial. In his appellate practice he has been at the forefront of the development of the law regarding the non-prosecution of victims of trafficking, particularly as if affects children. He appeared for the applicant Joseph McGill in the appeal of Grant-Murray & Ors [2017] EWCA Crim 1228 which concerned the trial protections for young defendants and the compatibility of the mandatory sentence of detention at her Majesty’s Pleasure with Articles 3 and 5 ECHR as well as the application of the joint enterprise principle in respect of young defendants. 

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Notable Cases & News

Garden Court Chambers Crime Team shortlisted for Crime Set of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards 2021

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team has been shortlisted by the Chambers Bar Awards 2021 for Crime Set of the Year.

27 August 2021

Supreme Court upholds right to disruptive protest on highway

The Appellants were represented by Henry Blaxland QC and Owen Greenhall, both members of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team, and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh of Matrix Chambers. They were instructed by Raj Chada of Hodge, Jones and Allen solicitors.

25 June 2021

ECHR judgment finds failure to adequately protect potential victims of child trafficking

Henry Blaxland QC, Emma Fitzsimons and Stephen Clark of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimant, VCL. Michelle Brewer, a former tenant of Garden Court also represented VCL.

16 February 2021

Does the Buck Stop? Legal Liability for Death from Covid-19

By Henry Blaxland QC of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team. This blog piece featured originally on The Secret Barrister's Guest Blog on 09/06/2020.

9 June 2020

Court of Appeal overturns draconian injunctions preventing protests against INEOS fracking activities

Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblet represented Joe Corré. Henry Blaxland QC & Stephen Clark represented Friends of the Earth.

3 April 2019

Henry Blaxland QC awarded Crime Silk of the Year by the Legal 500 Awards 2019

Henry Blaxland QC has been awarded Crime Silk of the Year by the Legal 500.

3 January 2019

Henry Blaxland QC shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year by the Legal 500 Awards 2019

Henry Blaxland QC has been shortlisted by the Legal 500 Awards 2019 for Crime Silk of the Year.

4 December 2018

Surrey Police apologise and trial collapses after defence submissions reveal systemic disclosure failings in Jonathan King sex abuse case

Henry Blaxland QC is instructed by Steve Bird of Bird Solicitors, representing Jonathan King.

7 August 2018

Defendant acquitted after 10 week trial in £10M cocaine and heroin smuggling case

Henry Blaxland QC and Alex Rose of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team represented one of the defendants.

26 March 2018

Jailed whistle-blower in plea for press freedoms as supporters launch crowdfunding campaign

Our Henry Blaxland QC, Keir Monteith and Lucie Wibberley are seeking to overturn Robert Norman’s conviction in the ECHR.

23 November 2017

Counterfeit clothing case ends in acquittal for all defendants

Henry Blaxland QC appeared for a defendant charged with involvement in commercial scale trading in counterfeit clothing.

12 November 2017

Muhammad Rabbani to appeal after being convicted under Terrorism Act for protecting torture victims' data in 'digital strip search' at Heathrow

Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court Chambers to appeal decision.

29 September 2017

Henry Blaxland QC shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017

Ranked in Band 1 of the Chambers & Partners Bar Guide 2017, Henry is recognised as one of the leading criminal defence advocates in the UK.

6 September 2017

Important Court of Appeal judgment for victims of human trafficking

A number of defendants and the intervener were represented by counsel from Garden Court Chambers.

15 February 2017

Garden Court and Stephanie Harrison QC shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law awards

Garden Court has been shortlisted at the Chambers Bar Awards, whilst Stephanie and our Public Law Team are shortlisted at the Legal 500 Awards.

21 October 2016

Garden Court Crime Team welcomes Gove’s decision to scrap legal aid contracting regime

The Garden Court Crime Team welcomes the Government’s announcement to abandon the dual contracting regime.

29 January 2016

Jury acquits former ICAP broker in Libor trial

Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court Chambers represented Darrell Read, accused of helping convicted trader Tom Hayes manipulate the Libor rate.

28 January 2016

Henry Blaxland QC represents broker in alleged Libor rigging trial

Henry Blaxland QC is representing former ICAP plc broker Darrell Read, accused of allegedly helping to rig the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (Libor), a global benchmark used to set interest rates.

19 January 2016

Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks Garden Court in Band 1

Garden Court Chambers recognised as a leading set for immigration, social housing, civil liberties, police law, Court of Protection, crime and inquests and public inquiries.

30 October 2015

Garden Court wins Legal 500 crime set of the year award

The winners in these awards are chosen by the Legal 500 as a result of thousands of interviews with firms, sets and counsel.

8 October 2015

Retired police officer acquitted of indecent assault and misconduct in public office

Gurpal Virdi, the retired police officer, was represented by Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court Chambers

31 July 2015

Old Bailey terror trial collapses after prosecution offers no evidence

The defendant was represented by Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court Chambers.

2 June 2015

Trial of Anis Abid Sardar begins at Woolwich Crown Court

The defendant is being represented by Henry Blaxland QC.

5 May 2015

Manslaughter of eight-year-old Ayesha Ali by mother, Polly Chowdhury, and Kiki Muddar

Henry Blaxland QC, Ali Bajwa QC and Dafna Spiro represented the defendants.

5 March 2015

Henry Blaxland QC, Hossein Zahir and Beth O’Reilly represent Imran Khawaja at Woolwich Crown Court

Judge hands down 12-year custodial sentence in Syria-related terrorism case.

6 February 2015

Judge allows submission of no case to answer in fraud trial

Henry Blaxland QC represents a pension administrator in a three-month trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

6 January 2015

Garden Court Crime Team "dismayed" at CBA deal with government

Speaking on behalf of the criminal practitioners at Garden Court, Henry Blaxland QC explains the reasons behind the dismay at yesterday's deal negotiated by the CBA.

28 March 2014

G4S guards to face manslaughter charges over Jimmy Mubenga death

Following a review of the case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that it intends to charge three G4S guards with manslaughter over the death of Jimmy Mubenga.

20 March 2014

Judge stays indictment in case of man accused of IRA Hyde Park bombing

Henry Blaxland QC acted for John Downey, who was charged with involvement in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, one of the most notorious incidents of the IRA campaign.

25 February 2014

Judge dismisses charge brought by Serious Fraud Office

A judge has dismissed charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office against a solicitor, two solicitor partners, a senior QC and two company directors. Henry Blaxland QC acted for one of the defendants.

24 February 2014

Case against NHS doctor accused of Syrian kidnap collapses

The trial against Shajul Islam, an NHS doctor accused of kidnapping a British photographer in Syria, has been dropped. He was represented by Henry Blaxland QC and Hossein Zahir.

11 November 2013

Garden Court Chambers ranked Band 1 in Chambers UK 2014

We are once again delighted to have been ranked as a leading set by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK 2014 directory.

31 October 2013

Garden Court Chambers recommended as Top Tier Set in Legal 500 2013

Garden Court Chambers is once again delighted to have been recommended as a Top Tier Set in this year's Legal 500. We are recommended in six areas of law as a set, with 11 silks and 27 junior barristers recognised individually.

25 September 2013

Jury returns unlawful killing verdict at Jimmy Mubenga inquest

A jury has today delivered a verdict of unlawful killing in the inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga. Mr Mubenga died of positional asphyxia in October 2010 in the custody of G4S security guards while being deported from the UK to Angola. His family we

9 July 2013

All related news


'Sappers and Underminers: Fresh Evidence Revisited' - Criminal Law Review (2017), issue 7, (pp537-542).


  • BA English Literature (York)

Professional Membership

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association
  • The Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)


  • French (reasonable)
  • German (basic)

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