Ian Unsworth

Ian Unsworth QC

  • Called in 1992
  • Silk in 2010

Ian Unsworth QC has vast experience in dealing with cases of the utmost complexity, seriousness and sensitivity.

His practice embraces serious and complex crime, serious fraud, regulatory, sports law and all areas requiring the skills of a specialist advocate.

His clients include prosecuting agencies, major defence firms, off shore prosecuting agencies, police forces, regulatory bodies, niche regulatory firms, FTSE 100 companies, company directors and organisations and individuals connected with professional sport.

He provides specialist advice to companies and directors.

He likes to be involved in cases from the earliest opportunity and embraces a team approach to litigation. Always accessible, Ian provides clear and robust advice to his clients in a direct and straightforward manner.

He works tirelessly for those instructing him and seeks to provide advocacy of the highest order.

Ian is a Public Access Qualified.


Ian has appeared in hundreds of criminal cases over a period spanning 22 years. He has acted in countless cases involving Murder, International Drugs Conspiracies, Gangland Warfare, Serious Fraud, Corruption and all categories of Heavy Crime.

He relishes being involved in a case from a very early point.

He always seek to ensure that the key issues are identified at a very early stage. His work in Murder cases has brought about a keen interest in Pathology, Medicine generally and all areas of Forensic Science.

He is fully computer literate and at ease working in a paperless environment. The future is Apple!

His work in Complex Fraud cases has enabled him to gain considerable experience of Asset Tracing, Banking, Computer Law, Confiscation, Money Laundering, VAT frauds and numerous other instances of White Collar allegations.

Whether his client is an individual or an organisation, Ian will work tirelessly on their behalf and will always seek to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the pursut of a just outcome.


Prior to becoming a Barrister, Ian worked in a management role in private industry.

He graduated in Business Law and hence Ian has developed an expertise and a keen interest in Regulatory and Disciplinary Law.

His cases have included those involving 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 he has acted in cases involving professionals both from commerce and cross-over areas of sport.

He is a firm believer in early advice and identification of the issues as being key to a successful outcome.


Before taking Silk Ian was a member of the Attorney General’s A List of Prosecuting Counsel and was also, at that time, one of only 2 Northern Circuit members of the Serious Fraud Office A List. He has vast experience in dealing with cases of the utmost complexity, seriousness and sensitivity.

He provides specialist advice and representation to a range of clients, including companies, company directors, FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, major defence firms, prosecuting agencies including CPS Fraud Group, off shore prosecuting agencies, police forces, regulatory bodies, niche regulatory firms as well as individuals.

He is a member of Fraud Barristers Direct which provides direct niche advice and specialist representation in cases involving allegations and investigations of white collar crime.

He has extensive knowledge of VAT Carousel Frauds, Asset Tracing, Banking and Computing Law, Confiscation, Off – Shore Jurisdictions, Money Laundering and all White Collar related crime.

His cases have involved enormous investigations involving alleged frauds worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Often, these cases involve monies being moved across several continents.

He likes to be involved in cases from the earliest opportunity and embrace a team approach to litigation.

He always seeks to be accessible, down to earth and provide clear and robust advice to his clients in a direct and straightforward manner. He works tirelessly for those instructing him and always seeks to provide oral and written advocacy of the highest order.

Sports Law

Ian advises and represents International Athletes, Sporting Organisations, Sports Management Companies, Professional Footballers Rugby League players 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.

He has a deep interest in many Sports, including Football, Rugby Union (being a qualified coach and former Chairman of a Junior and Minis section of a National League Rugby Union Club) and Golf (being a single figure handicap golfer as a junior).

His love of multi – sports has led to him becoming an age – group triathlete: he is now working (slowly) towards his first Ironman.

In 2014 he completed the Virgin London Marathon as well as the Great North Swim.

Professionally Ian Unsworth QC sits as an RFU Disciplinary Chairman and Single Judicial Officer . He is on the RBS 6 Nations Panel and in the Summer of 2014 will be a Judicial Officer for the World Club Sevens Tournament.

In dealing with high profile athletes and organisations he understands the need for clear advice, discretion and sensitivity.

Notable Cases

English Football League v Watford Football Club
An independent investigation by Ian Unsworth QC into events surrounding the submission of a forged letter has led to the English Football League fining Watford FC £4.3m including costs.

Operation Foldahl
East end gangland double "Execution" murder.

R v Colin Clarke & Others
The murder of university medical student Muneeb Naseer.

Read more

R v Daniel Breaks
A horrific murder on the Wirral resulting in 30 year jail term.

R v Matthew Lucas
Cumbrian Chef involved in attempted murder of 2 people sleeping at house party.

R v Lightfoot
The assault of an off duty soldier by a Special Constable.

Operation Montrose
International drugs conspiracies involving a number of trials involving UK and European Nationals.

Operation Dedans
Large Scale International Drug conspiracy involving number of seizures including 70 kg of cocaine bound for UK.

Operation Chamform
UK's largest ever amphetamine factory.

Operation Tennyson
Large scale Drugs Importation, sentences totaled over 100 years.

R v M & S
Police officers charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving following fatal collision occurring during training course (Case caused UK suspension of VASCAR training).

R v B & M
Alleged multi million pound customs fraud, acted for acquitted director of shipping agency.

Defence of company director charged in UK's first ever prosecution brought under the Chemical Weapons Act.

Read less

If you would like to instruct Ian Unsworth QC or would like help or advice in doing so, please call and talk to our excellent clerking team, led by senior clerk Alan Kilbey MBE. Our phone number is +44 (0)20 7583 9241. Alternatively, please email us at chambers@farrarsbuilding.co.uk

For more information about our clerking team, please click here for the clerks page.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Appointed to the SFO QC Panel [as a Junior, a member of the SFO “A” List] (2010)
  • Licensed as a Temporary Advocate in the Isle of Man (2008)
  • Appointed to the Attorney General’s “A” List (2006)
  • Appointed as Category 4 Prosecuting Counsel (2003)

Education & Qualifications

  • Inns of Court School Of Law (1991 – 1992)
  • LLB (Hons), Business Law, University of Huddersfield (1988 – 1991)

Personal Interests

Ian enjoys all sports (in particular, Rugby Union, Football, Golf, Running and Skiing) and fine wines.