7 Harrington Street Chambers

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Mr Ian Unsworth QC

Call: 1992. Queens Counsel: 2010

Practice Areas


Areas of Practice and Notable Cases

Serious and Complex Crime
Before taking Silk, Ian Unsworth QC was a Category 4 Prosecutor, an A list Prosecutor for the Attorney-General and on the Serious Fraud A List. Since taking Silk he has appeared in numerous cases involving Murder, International Drugs Conspiracies, Gangland Warfare, Serious Fraud, Corruption and all categories of Heavy Crime. He is highly experienced in criminal cases with an international dimension and cross-border issues. He has advised offshore investigating agencies and appeared offshore.
His current workload includes cases involving Murder, Large Scale Drug Conspiracies, Money Laundering and MTIC Fraud. In 2013 Chambers and Parners described him as, “the next superstar of the Northern Circuit”. Legal 500 2015 ranked Ian Unsworth QC in Tier 1 of Leading Silks stating that “He has a strong track record in prosecuting and defending serious crime and fraud”
 Sports Law
Ian Unsworth QC advises and represents International Athletes, Sporting Organisations, Sports Management Companies, Professional Sports Men and Women and other elite sporting individuals. His knowledge of medical matters has meant that he has developed a keen interest in cases involving allegations of anti - doping as well as concussion.
He has appeared before Disciplinary and Regulatory Tribunals as well as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He has represented various professional sportsmen and other individuals connected with sport in proceedings before the Crown Court. 

Regulatory cases include those relating to Environment, Health and Safety, Business, Innovation and Skills, Revenue and Customs as well as Transport. His clients have included Government organisations, private individuals, small, medium and large organisations, FTSE 100 blue chip corporate bodies.
In Disciplinary Proceedings Ian Unsworth QC has acted in cases involving professionals both from commerce and cross-over areas of sport.

 "Ian Unsworth QC - A professional and Hardworking barrister" Ranked: Tier 1 (Legal 500 - 2016)

"Ian Unsworth QC - A strong track record in prosecuting and defending serious crime and fraud" Ranked: Tier 1 (Legal 500 - 2015)

"Ian Unsworth QC - Diligent and hardworking" (Legal 500 - 2014)


"Demonstrates considerable expertise across a range of serious crime matters, in which he acts as both prosecution and defence counsel. He regulary acts on high-profile murder cases as well as complex drug offences."

Strengths: "He's extremely good and very fair" "He is solid and a safe pair of hands".  

Recent Work: Acted for the prosecution in the high-profile case against Clayton Williams, who was convicted for killing PC Dave Phillips and attempting to harm another officer by running them over with a stolen truck.

(Chambers and Partners 2017)

"Works extensively in sports and serious crime, serving as a leading advocate in anti-doping matters. Also instructed by the RFU for rugby disciplinary hearings.
Strengths: "A very able criminal silk who does a lot of disciplinary work." 

(Chambers and Partners 2017) (Sports Law)

"An experienced criminal specialist, Ian Unsworth QC is a popular choice for instruction in serious crime and fraud cases. He has a particular interest in representing athletes in sporting cases with anti-dopping elements. Recently, his work has focused more on prosecution than on defence.

Strengths: "He is extremely charming, so persuasive and immaculately prepared"

Recent Work: Was successful in the prosecution of a lorry driver who murdered another motorist in a road rage offence. The jury decided the defendant was guilty after only 3.5 hours of deliberation.

(Chambers and Partners 2016)

"Advises on a variety of criminal law matters for the defence and the prosecution, acting for regulatory bodies, prosecuting agencies, police forces and professional sportsmen. He is recommended for serious and complex cases.

Expertise: "He is very thorough, very well prepared, and puts up a bloody good fight in court"

(Chambers and Partners 2015)


Chambers UK Bar 2013   Unsworth, Ian


Areas of Practice

Ian Unsworth QC is cited by Chambers UK and the Legal 500 as a Leading Silk in the fields of Crime and Sports Law. In Chambers 2016, he was said to be, “extremely charming, so persuasive and immaculately prepared”, whilst the Legal 500 refer to his, “strong track record in prosecuting serious crime and fraud.” The directories have said that he is, “very thorough, well prepared and puts up a bloody good fight in court, ”

His practice is predominantly in serious and complex crime, sports law, and related areas requiring the expertise of a specialist advocate. He acts for prosecuting agencies and police forces across the UK and also offshore. He advises and represents individuals, companies, directors, athletes and sporting organisations. He has presented reports into the internal workings of major organisations.

Recent murder cases include the murder of Nicholas Robinson in Bristol (featured in a major Channel 4 series “The Murder Detectives”), the “Shallow Grave, Love Triangle Murder” in Nottingham, the murder of Sophie McDonald in Dawlish, Devon, the murder of Stephen Bennett in Liverpool, and the “Loved Ones murder” in Chester.

Described in Chambers UK as a Leader in the field of Sports Law and a Silk who,“has considerable expertise of anti-doping and concussion regulations. He continues to act for parties in a wide range of sporting disciplines and is particularly highly regarded for his work in rugby union” his recent cases include acting for Australian Cricketer James Faulkner and Team Sky Cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. He has appeared before the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne and the National Anti-Doping Panel.

Other recent instructions include advising Lloyds underwriters, a former senior officer of a “Big 4” accountancy/ audit firm and the Chairman of a major UK Exporting Company

Ian Unsworth QC is a Single Judicial Officer and Appeal Chairman for the Rugby Football Union and is a Judicial Officer for the RBS Six Nations Tournament. He was the Single Judicial Officer for the World Club Sevens 2014.


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