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Max Hill QC

Max Hill QC

Call: 1987     Silk: 2008

T: 0207 520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

Max Hill is Head of Red Lion Chambers and, since March 2017, the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: see IRTL Website.   He is also the former Leader of the South Eastern Circuit (2014-16) and Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association (2011-12).  Whilst unable to advise or appear in terrorism related cases during his tenure as Independent Reviewer, Max maintains a heavy-weight crime practice, defending and prosecuting in a number of complex cases of homicide, violent crime and high value fraud and corporate crime. He also has extensive advisory experience both nationally and internationally.

Max has been instructed in many of the most significant and high-profile murder trials in recent years, including the second set of trials concerning the killing of Damilola Taylor, and the London bombings of 2005.  Murder cases include R v Long (2015), R v Campbell and others (2014-5), R v O’Driscoll (2014) and R v Robinson (2015).  Max defends in substantial fraud cases, including tax fraud.  In fraud, he was instructed for the defence in the SFO Forex (Foreign Exchange) investigation and the long-running SFO pharmaceutical cartel case.  His terrorism cases include R v Bourgass and others (the ricin conspiracy), R v Ibrahim and others (the 21/7 bombers), R v Ali and others and R v Girma and others (the 21/7 follow-on trials). He appeared for the Government in the Binyam Mohamed case in the Administrative Court. He acted for the Metropolitan Police in the Inquests into the 7th July London bombings. Most recently he prosecuted a London Cabbie and bomb-maker for the killing of a US soldier in R v Sardar (2015).  He also prosecuted two men who gave sums of money to the Paris and Brussels terror suspect Abrini, engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Max appeared as lead prosecution counsel, alongside Michelle Nelson, in Channel 4’s The Trial (2017) in which real juries, together with actual barristers and judges, tried a fictional Murder case in order to explore the workings of the jury system.


HomicideTerrorismFraud & Proceeds of Crime (POCA)Sexual OffencesFraud and Business Crime

Max has appeared in a number of significant homicide trials (murder and manslaughter), for the defence and prosecution in equal measure.

His past cases at the Central Criminal Court include the successful second prosecution for the killing of Damilola Taylor, R v Preddie and Preddie, in which he was first junior prosecution counsel.

  • R v Long (2015) Prosecuting a former Metropolitan Police Firearms officer for murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Azelle Rodney. Press Link: The Guardian
  • R v Jones and others (2015) Defending one of seven young men charged with double murder in a drugs-related homicide in East London.
  • R v B (2012) Defending the lead defendant in a 4-handed trial where four doormen were accused of manslaughter following an altercation with a customer at a nightclub in Southend. The deceased had died while being restrained. Evidence was heard from numerous eye-witnesses, club staff and management, CCTV footage, pathologists, neuro-pathologists, security experts, restraint experts and police officers. All four were acquitted.
  • R v (Dagauzu) Ali (2012) Prosecuting the murder of a young man on the Old Kent Road motivated by minor rivalry relating to the ownership and sale of cars. The leading defendant and person in direct dispute with the victim was convicted and sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 25 years.

Max has built a reputation as a true leader in his field, appearing in a number of high profile terrorism cases.

He was instructed in the last IRA prosecution in this country, R v Hulme and others. The Real IRA mainland campaign of 2001 included bomb detonations at the BBC premises in White City, together with a very large bomb at Ealing Broadway and a third detonation at Birmingham Smallbrook. The trial took place over several months in 2003, and culminated in the conviction of all five members of the terrorist cell.

Thereafter, he was continuously instructed for the prosecution, first as junior counsel then, as leading junior and now as QC, in a series of Al Qaeda and then ISIS terrorist trials from 2004 to date. These include the so-called ‘Ricin Conspiracy’ trial R v Bourgass and others, concerning the discovery of poison recipes and ingredients in north London, terrorism trials involving Syria (R v Tabbakh 2008), Baluchistan (R v Baluch and Marri 2008-9), Somalia (R v Mohamed and Yusuf 2009) and one of the most significant terrorist publications case to date (R v Faraz 2011), as well as all three trials resulting from the ‘21/7’ plot by suicide bombers to detonate bombs on London transport two weeks after the carnage of ‘7/7’. These trials lasted a total of 16 months during 2007-8, and resulted in the conviction of sixteen defendants. Max was appointed QC in the middle of the third trial. His second junior in the second and third trials was Emma Gargitter, also of Red Lion Chambers.

  • R v Abdallah and Gray (2016) Prosecuting a Birmingham-based plot to send fighters, firearms and cash to Syria.
  • R v Khan and Khan (2016) Prosecuting a Luton-based plot to behead US servicemen in East Anglia, as well as intended travel to join so-called Islamic State in Syria.
  • R v Alshayeb (2015) Terrorism trial involving military files in the possession of a Bahraini activist resident in London.
  • R v Iqbal and others (2012-2013) Leading counsel (Duncan Atkinson and Carys Owen) Section 5 preparation and training case, the ‘Luton group’. Guilty pleas March 2013.
  • R v Faraz (2011) Leading Counsel (Duncan Atkinson). Section 2 TA terrorist publications. Before Calvert-Smith J, and Pitchford LJ on appeal.
  • R v Ahmed and Mohammed (2009) Leading Counsel (Alison Morgan). Al Shabaab funding and support.
  • R v Baluch and Marri (2008-2009) Leading counsel (Kate Wilkinson). Baluchistan Liberation Army funding and support.
  • R v Tabbakh (2008) QC alone (opposite Rajiv Menon QC). Section 5 TA bomb-maker and on appeal.
  • R v Girma and others (2008) Leading counsel (Alison Morgan and Emma Gargitter). The final 21/7 trial.
  • R v Ali and others (2007-2008) Leading Junior (Alison Morgan and Emma Gargitter). The 21/7 assisters.
  • R v Ibrahim and others (2007) First Junior (Nigel Sweeney QC). The 21 July 2005 Bombers. 6 month trial.
  • R v Bourgass and others (2004-2005) Second Junior (Nigel Sweeney QC and Mark Dennis QC). The ricin conspiracy. 9 month trial.
  • R v Hulme and others (2002-2003) Second Junior (Orlando Pownall QC and Mark Heywood). The Real IRA mainland bombing campaign 2001; White City, Ealing Broadway, Birmingham Smallbrook.

  • R v Webb and Simpson (2000) Led by Anthony Arlidge QC. An extraction fraud which went to the Court of Appeal when the Attorney General argued that non-custodial sentences were unduly lenient.

  • R v Bryan (2014) Defending a step-father accused of multiple rapes against his 6-year old step-daughter. The case reached the Court of Appeal as an Attorney-General’s reference.

Max has continued to act for the defence in a number of significant fraud cases, including the pharmaceutical industry cartel case R v O’Neill and others (also known as the SFO’s ‘Operation Holbein’), in which he defended Norton Healthcare Limited for seven years since the SFO raids in 2002. Press Link: Telegraph

  • SFO FX investigation (2015-16) Representing one of the core traders being investigated by the SFO in relation to the FX market which trades US$ 5trillion per day. SFO eventually announced there would be no prosecution. Press Link: The Guardian 
  • R v Mohiaddin (2014-5) Tax fraud. Defending a consultant cardiologist charged with cheating the Revenue.
  • R v O’Neill and others (2002-2008)  First defence junior (Peter Carter QC), for Norton Healthcare Limited in SFO ‘Operation Holbein’, the pharmaceutical cartel case.

Inquiries & Appellate Work

Max Hill QC was lead counsel for the Metropolitan Police Service throughout the Coroner’s Inquests into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005, before Hallett LJ.

Max regularly appears in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division:

  • R v Hartwell (2016) Representing an Applicant in relation to both conviction and sentence in a Liverpool-based international drugs conspiracy.
  • R v T & C (2015) Representing the CPS in an appeal from the Central Criminal Court via the Divisional Court concerning reporting restrictions for young defendants.


International Representation

In addition to criminal trial work, Max has been instructed by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Government in proceedings relating to the detention of British nationals in Guantánamo, including the case of Binyam Mohamed v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (3) [2008] EWHC 2519 (Admin) [2008] WLR(D) 323.

His appearances on behalf of the Home Secretary in terrorism Control Order cases in the High Court include SSHD v BB and BC [2009] EWHC 2927 (Admin). In 2012 he advised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to the diplomatic immunity of foreign visitors to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Publications, Lectures and Training

PublicationsLectures and Training

Urgent Interviews and the Concept of Oppression in Terrorist Cases. Investigating Terrorism: edited by John Pearse, Wiley Blackwell. (2015)

The Stephen Lawrence Murder Twenty-One Years on. (2014) IILP Review, pp 148-154.

Cell Site and the Judiciary, DVD (2013)

Removing Dishonesty from the Cartel Offence. Lexis Nexis (2013)

Social Media and Criminal Justice, Criminal Bar Quarterly Issue 4 (2013)

The Stephen Lawrence Murder: 18 years on. (2012) Criminal Law and Justice Weekly Vol 176 No 45, pp 633 and 651

A practitioner’s guide to terrorist trials, contributing editor (2007)

Max Hill QC is regularly invited to lecture at international events

US-UK seminar on counter-terrorism co-sponsored by NYU and Texas University Law Schools: New York (2016)

Lecturing for the European Judicial Training Network, meeting in Germany: Trier (2016)

Delivering a training programme to Omani Prosecutors on comparative counterterrorism law and practice: Oman (2014)


The Times 2012: Times Law 100 Most Influential Lawyers in Britain:

legal 500 2017

Chambers UK 2017

  • Described as a compelling, extraordinarily logical and appealing advocate, he often acts in terrorism and homicide cases.” – Legal 500 2017
  • An excellent lawyer with a good client manner”  – Legal 500 2017
  • A quality performer with a prosecution background, who now also represents the defence in some of the most serious and high-profile matters around, including murder and terrorism cases. He attracts praise from market commentators for his calm approach and his sound advocacy.” – Chambers UK 2017
  • He is thorough, unrelenting and he gets results.” “He never wilts under pressure, he’s brilliant on the law, and he’s just so smooth in court.” – Chambers UK 2017
  • He is a very methodical, precise and thorough advocate, who is very persuasive.” – Chambers UK 2014


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1986 BA Jurisprudence (Oxon)

Open Scholarship, St Peter’s College Oxford.


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Middle Temple, Bencher (2012)

Criminal Bar Association, Chairman (2011-12)

Leader, South Eastern Circuit:  Leader (2014-16)

Kalisher Trust (Chairman (2014)

Fellow, Royal Society of Arts


Professional Appointments

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Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (2017)

Recorder (2005) authorised to sit at the Central Criminal Court

Head of Red Lion Chambers (2012- Present)

Chairman of Criminal Bar Association (2011-12)

Leader of the South Eastern Circuit (2014-16)


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German (basic)

French (basic)