Ian Unsworth [Queen's Counsel: 2010]

Year of call

1992, Lincoln's Inn  [Queen's Counsel: 2010]

Areas of work


  • Prosecution and Defence
  • Serious Crime
  • Serious Fraud
  • Regulatory, Business, Sports Law and all areas requiring the skills of a specialist advocate

Ian Unsworth QC is a specialist criminal advocate. He has vast experience in dealing with cases of the utmost complexity, seriousness and sensitivity. 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. He provides specialist advice to companies and directors.

His practice embraces serious crime and serious fraud, regulatory, business, 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, international athletes and other individuals connected with professional sport.

Recommended as a Leading Silk in both Chambers and Partners 2012 and the Legal 500 UK edition.

"Recently appointed to silk, Ian Unsworth QC has a practice that covers the most serious, sensitive and complex cases. In addition to heavyweight murders, he has extensive expertise in the area of fraud"
Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2011

"Clients' appreciate Ian Unsworth’s understanding and approachable demeanour. He is praised for his ‘stout work recently in fraud and homicide cases’."
Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2010.

For more information, please see his personal website at www.ianunsworthqc.com.

Notable cases

Murder and Violence

  • Operation Foldahl - East End Gangland Double "Execution" murder - Old Bailey 2011
  • R v Colin Clarke & Others - the murder of university medical student Muneeb Naseer
  • R v Jones, Rigby and Smith – the murder of John Jaundoo
  • R v Moore and others – the murder of Liverpool Cadet Joseph Lappin
  • R v Heaps – the murder of 3 year old Francesca Bimpson in night time arson attack
  • R v Wilkinson and Skelhorn - the murder of Thomas Thompson in Liverpool Edge Lane Hotel.
  • R v Wooley - Gangland murder of Michael Wright
  • R v Culshaw - Ritualistic killing – whole life order
  • R v Stephenson - Southport body under the boardwalk killing
  • R v Daniel Breaks - Horrific Murder on the Wirral resulting in 30 year term
  • R v Ashton & others - Gang related murder of Leon Small
  • R v McGarry & Wells - Teenagers charged with murder
  • 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.

Serious Fraud & Related Crime

  • Advising FTSE 100 company in complex and sensitive matter
  • Operation Shootout – multi-million pound alleged MTIC fraud
  • Operation Humidity – multi-million pound false invoice fraud
  • R v B & M - Alleged Multi Million Pound Customs Fraud – acted for acquitted director of shipping agency;
  • R v Dudley - Company Director convicted of Million Pound Long Firm Fraud;
  • Operation Cosgrove - Large Scale Insurance Fraud
  • Operation Abraid - Alleged Million Pound + International Money Laundering Fraud;
  • Operation Eggcups - Represented Individual accused of heading a large scale Excise Fraud – acquitted following extensive legal arguments
  • Operations Walrus 2 and 3 - alleged large scale money laundering.

Regulatory and Sports Law

  • Represented International Athlete and prospective Olympian before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Advised Management Company of Premier League and International Footballer
  • BERR v K - Defence of company director charged in UK’s first ever prosecution brought under the Chemical Weapons Act
  • R v H - Acted for Marketing Director of Football Club charged with various offences of Theft and False Accounting.


  • Operation Nahum – Police Corruption
  • Operation 48 – Police Corruption

International Drugs Conspiracies

  • Operation Needles – Major Drugs Ring with International Dimension
  • Operation Montrose - International Drugs conspiracies involving a number of trials involving UK and European Nationals
  • Operation Lima - International Drug Conspiracy involving sentences up to 26 years.
  • Operation Dedans - Large Scale International Drug conspiracy involving number of seizures including 70 kg of cocaine bound for UK
  • Operation Chamform - UK largest ever Amphetamine Factory
  • Operation Meniscus - Large Scale Drugs Enterprise/ Money Laundering
  • Operation Cirrate - Conspiracy to supply Class A & B drugs – number of defendants
  • Operation Tennyson - Large scale Drugs Importation – sentences totalled over 100 years
  • Operation Walrus - Multi Million Pound Large Scale Greater Manchester Drugs Ring

Other cases of Interest

  • 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 Volante - Isle of Man Gym Instructor convicted of numerous sexual allegations.

Education & Qualifications

University of Huddersfield LLB (Hons) Business Law 1988-1991

Inns of Court School Of Law 1991-1992

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

Other Appointments

  • RFU Chairman of Disciplinary Appeals Panel and Single Judicial Officer


Interests: all sports, in particular, Rugby Union, Football and Golf. Running, Skiing and Wine.

Ian QC