John Cooper QC
  • Incredibly good with clients and good at getting the judge on side.

    Chambers UK 2022

  • He is ferocious in court

    Legal 500 2022, Crime

  • A skilled advocate.

    Legal 500 2022, Civil Liberties and Human Rights 

  • Incredibly good with clients and excellent at getting on the right side of both the judge and the jury.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Utterly fearless in his representation of clients.

    Legal 500

  • ‘Forensic skills that are of the highest possible order.

    Legal 500

  • Experienced in testing the boundaries of the law. An expert in crime-related matters.

    Legal 500

  • An excellent advocate, who provides well-researched and thought-out advice.

    Legal 500

  • Disarming to judges and prosecutors alike.

    Legal 500

  • Excellent on his feet and very good on tactics.

    Legal 500

  • A charismatic trial advocate.

    Legal 500

  • Instructed in serious violent crime cases.

    Legal 500 2020

  • A skilled advocate.

    Legal 500 2020

Called 1983

Silk 2010

John Cooper QC


Leading in serious crime including murder, serious violence, drug trafficking, terrorism, fraud, appellate work, human rights and media. Regulatory work including fraud and sports regulation, Public Inquiries and Inquest work including Judicial Review. Also Pre-Charge and Crisis Management. He is a leading silk in Public Protest Actions.

Ferocious cross-examiner - Legal 500 2021

John Cooper is one of the most effective and popular QC’s practising at the Old Bailey and achieving many notable acquittals both there and up and down the country successfully representing clients in cases ranging from the most serious of allegations to those which are potentially individually and personally devastating to the accused

As a former prosecutor and senior attorney general prosecutor, he has a vital insight into the minds of the prosecution and has a thing enabling him to gain every advantage for his clients, exploiting that insight to great effect in his defence practice.

John Cooper QC was the Chair of the International Steering Committee and Prosecutor at the Iran Tribunal in The Hague. The full judgement can be downloaded here. He also represented the captain of the seized Grace I in Gibraltar as a result of disputes between the British and Iranian Governments. He was called to the NSW Bar in Australia in 1989.

John Cooper QC has been named by The Times as one of the Top 10 influential lawyers in the UK. He is also visiting a Professor of Law at Newcastle University and a Master of the Bench at Middle Temple.

He is available to be instructed by Direct Access.

Has considerable expertise in private prosecutions, previously being credited as a Grade 4 (most serious cases) Prosecutor.

John also been assessed as an A list (most serious) Attorney General Prosecutor.

He has represented clients in many significant public inquires and inquests, including the majorly of bereaved families in the Manchester arena bomb inquiry, the deep cut barracks inquests and high court hearings, the Hercules in the multiple loss of life following enemy action in conflict as well as the Puma Helicopter and nimrod cases for 9 deceased service people.

The preferred QC in many cases, which challenged the Establishment, John, represented the occupiers outside St Paul’s cathedral throughout their high court hearings and argued successful on behalf of the Euston Square Tunnels in their public protest actions. He also lead the judicially review of the Government deal with the DUP and represented 43 labour MPs in written argument during the prorogation of parliament supreme court case.

He was instructed to judicially review the inquests into the death of Dr David Kelly the government weapons inspector in Iraq and advised the Mayor of London in the John Warboys parole judicial review.

For more information:

Media Management

Mr Cooper uniquely utilises in-depth knowledge of the media, press and broadcasting to advise clients upon reputation and crisis management, as well as neutralising in advance any legal action and adverse publicity.

He has represented and advised high net worth clients including the Tetra Pac owner and a leading Bitcoin developer.

Mr Cooper was Vice Chair of the Bar Council Public Affairs Committee, a former director of media communications for the Halsbury Law Exchange, Lexis Nexis, for a number of years and writes regularly for a series of newspapers including The Times, Observer and the Daily Telegraph.

He is regularly instructed in the most sensitive of cases, often pre charge proceedings and astutely advises clients as to the most effective strategies to neutralise harmful outcomes.

He has been described as “One of the most politically astute QC’S in the country”

He is a former lawyer at Clifford Chance in their Media and Communications department. John wrote a regular column for ‘The Times’ for 10 years and edited the Criminal Bar quarterly for over 17 years. He was Vice Chair of the Bar Conference organising board, completing his wide appreciation of the political, media and broadcasting world.

Articles & Publications (include)


  • Cruelty – An Analysis of Article 3 (Sweet & Maxwell) with a foreword by Lord Hope
  • Judicial Review (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Police Interviews (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Encyclopaedia of Data Protection and Privacy (contributor; Sweet and Maxwell)
  • The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence (Sussex Academic Press 2009)
  • Inquests (Hart Publishing, 2011) with a foreword from the Lord Chief Justice
  • Cases that Changed our Lives (Butterworth’s) 2011

Papers and Articles

  • Over 500 papers and articles appearing in most legal publications, including;
  • Over 500 papers and articles appearing in most legal publications.
  • Communist for the Times and regular writer for the main paper since 1999.
  • Editor for Criminal Bar Quarterly 2000-2018
  • Consultant editor for Criminal Law and Justice weekly 2009-2019
  • Regular columnist for New Law Journal 2017 to date.


John Cooper QC has appeared in many television and radio broadcasts, both as a presenter and contributor. His credits include;

  • Teens on Trial, Channel 4 Presented six-part documentary.
  • Mindfield, BBC presented studio discussion programme.
  • Trial of the Allies, a Newsnight Special, BBC (2006) co-presenting.
  • Any Question, Radio 4 Panellist.
  • The Moral Maze, Radio 4 guest
  • The reunion, Radio 4 guest.
  • In My View , Al Jazeera
  • Regularly reviews newspapers for Sky News.
  • Regular appearances on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Radio 4 and other major broadcasting.

Associated Work (Present & Former)

  • Former Board member of Prisoners of Conscience
  • Trustee of the Young Citizens (including national bar mock trial competition)
  • Former President of League Against Cruel Sports
  • Special advisor to the Bach Commission on Access to Justice
  • Special advisor to the Shadow Attorney, General and Shadow Minister for Legal Aid.
  • Advisor to Foreign Office on Cambodian War Trials.
  • Assisted Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture.
  • Trustee of Citizen Aid (as a result of Johns work at the Manchester Arena Inquiry)
  • Former lawyer at Clifford Chance.
  • Member of Law Commission Working Parties on (i) Reform of the Law of Homicide & (ii) Expert Evidence Procedure in Criminal Trials.

Other Interests

  • Writer for television and theatre including “The Law Lord” [BBC2]; “The Advocates” [ITV] “The Cure” [Royal Court Theatre], Burning Point [Tricycle Theatre]. Represented by Independent Talent.
  • Regularly appears on television and radio as a leading commentator and presenter.
  • Speaks regularly at professional conferences and seminars.


  • LLB (Hons), Butterworth Law Prizeman, University of Newcastle.

Accreditation, Awards & Appointments

  • Visiting professor of law at Newcastle University
  • Law school advisory board at Newcastle University
  • Listed in Debrett’s People of the Today as one of the most influential people in his field.
  • Entry in Who’s Who
  • Listed in the Legal 500 as a Leading QC in Crime and Civil Liberties.

Listed in the Chambers & Partners directory as a Leading QC in Crime and Liberties.


  • Has fast developed a reputation as being head and shoulders above the majority of other QC’s” Legal 500
  • “Forensic skills that are of the highest order” Legal 500
  • “Star of the Criminal Bar” The Times
  • “Utterly fearless in his representation of his clients” Legal 500
  • “Talented and above all utterly reliable” Chambers & Partners
  • John Cooper has an acute instinct when it comes to media relations. He understands perfectly how to win both the legal care and the PR battle. He is the “go to” barrister for this mix of skills” John Underwood, Former Director of Campaigning & Communications for the Labour Party.
  • “One of the country’s leading human rights QC’S” Lynn Carter, Former director of Prisoners of Conscience.
  • “Outstanding dedication and commitment over a considerate period of time, not only did he offer his support in a legal capacity, it’s clear that the clients considered him no less than a friend, thus promoting all that’s good about the Bar of England & Wales” Bar Council Pro Bono Judges.
  • Without Mr Cooper’s skill & support during this difficult time, the burden of the case would have been almost unbearable.” Bereaved in the case of Gordon Gentle, roadside bomb inquest.
  • “The detail and analysis contained in Mr Coopers work has been inspirational. At a time when myself, my family and others in the situation of loss or harm as a result of military service, have felt isolated and vulnerable, John Cooper’s commitment to our carer has been unflinching and sustained.” Bereaved in deep cut barracks hearings.
  • “Provided lucid and powerful advice...a fearless and eloquent advocate for his clients” Former Chair of Home affairs select committee.
  • “Leaves the jury on the edge of their seats.” Geoffrey Rivlin QC. Former resident judge at Southwark Crown Court.
  • “John Cooper has an impressive capacity to absorb and understand complex financial material and then utilise it to devastating effect in the interests of his client. He always brings the best out of his expert” Andrew Donaldson, forensic accounting partner, Dains Forensic LLP.
  • “Clearly he is not only a most excellent lawyer, but has the kind of sensitive people skills that are not always associated with barristers” Bar Council Pro Bono Judges.
  • “Highly specialised expertise with great sensitivity, doing ground breaking work in support of people facing powerful interests and with nowhere else to turn” Bar Council Pro Bono Judges.
  • “His attitude to all the bereaved families has been that nothing is too much trouble for him and the fact that we know that he will always be there for us has sustained us through very difficult times” Bereaved in Hercules Air Explosion Inquest.
  • “It is not only this family who have benefitted from John Cooper’s commitment and sustained tenacity but familiar and ultimately those still serving, who now consider themselves better protected by our legal system” Instructing solicitor, Hercules.
  • “John Cooper has provided me with lucid and analytical advice of the highest standard and continues to supply me with wise and practical counsel as my special advisor” Lord Bach, Bach Commission on the Right to Justice.
  • “Outstanding ability to communicate complex ideas in an engaging and straightforward but thoughtful way with exceptional quality in terms of presentation” Professor Jeremy Horder UCL. Former Law Commissioner for England and Wales.
  • Mr Cooper is a formidable QC, informed, intelligent and impressively mindful of media sensitivities in big cases” Alastair Stewart, former ITN News Anchor.
  • A true passion for fighting injustice” Dr Brian May, Queen Guitarist.
  • “John Cooper is at the top of his game representing an impressive portfolio of sports personalities. He is trusted and respected throughout the press and media and knows how to pitch a story which guarantees attention”. Matt Lawson, The Times.
  • “John Cooper has represented a number of high profile and sports people and sensitively but effectively protects their interests. I would not hesitate to refer anyone needing legal and reputational help to him” Geoff Shreeves, Sky Sports and Fox Sports.
  • John Cooper always provides clear, prompt and accessible comment on stories and issues that I can rely on with complete confidence” Frances Gibb, Former legal editor, The Times.

Associated Work

  • Finalist Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, Lexis Nexis 2008.
  • Finalist & commended, Bar Council Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, 2008.
  • Lawyer of the Year, Asian Voice 2015.
  • Master of the Bench, Middle Temple.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Freeman of the City of London; Worshipful Company of Coopers.
  • Middle Temple Senior Advocacy Trainer and accredited Vulnerable Witness Trainer.

Professional Memberships

  • Master of the Bench at Middle Temple.
  • Vice Chairman of Bar Council’s Public Affairs Committee.
  • Vice Chairman of Bar Conference Organising Board.
  • Criminal Bar Association.
  • Editor of Criminal Bar Quarterly (National Magazine for Criminal Practitioners).
  • Middle Temple (Advocacy Trainer).
  • Bar Human Rights Committee.
  • Called to Australian Bar 1989.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts 2009 (FRSA).

Data Protection Officer for John Cooper QC: Peter Allsopp