Mark became a door tenant at GCN in September 2014. He was previously a full tenant and founder member of Garden Court North Chambers.

Mark is recognised as one of the leading junior counsel in complex historic allegations of sexual abuse, together with extensive experience of miscarriage cases in both England and Northern Ireland.


Mark Barlow is a door tenant at GCN.

Mark practices in both the English and Northern Irish jurisdiction mainly in criminal, human rights and appellant law. He was a founder member of Chambers and is a member of the Bar Library, Belfast. He is recognised as one of the leading junior counsel in complex historic allegations of sexual abuse, together with extensive experience of miscarriage cases in both England and Northern Ireland. He has been involved in a number of landmark decisions in the Court of Appeal involving historic care home appeals, most notably R v Joynson [2008] EWCA Crim 3049; R v Sheikh [2006] EWCA Crim 2625; R v Robson [2006] EWCA Crim 2754; R v Brizzalari [2004] EWCA Crim 310 and R v Basil Rigby Williams [2003] EWCA Crim 693. These cases concentrated upon the difficult area of whether a fair trial can be achieved given extensive delay in the criminal proceedings and the safeguarding of the rights of an accused.

Mark's experience in this area of law is demonstrated by his role as a legal advisor to the campaign group Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers (FACT), and his organisation of the first national conference on The Challenges of Historic Allegations of Past Sexual Abuse held in Manchester in 2009. Mark was also a speaker at the 7th INUK Annual Conference for Innocence Projects (November 2012) on investigating historical abuse and sexual offences.

Mark also appears on historic domestic sexual abuse cases and has successfully overturned a number of criminal convictions in both jurisdictions. R v DPMA [2010] NICA 22 (appeal involving doli incapax, young memories and inadequate directions); R v AG [2010] NICA 20 (inadequate legal directions); R v W [2010] EWCA Crim 29.1.10 (inadequate summing up in a delay case); R v H [2010] EWCA Crim 29.1.10 (Doli incapax and historic allegations); R v Paul Hughes [2008] NICA 17 (inadequate directions); R v K [A] [2007] EWCA Crim 1492 (childhood amnesia); R v KF [2007] EWCA Crim (CCRC referral historic allegations based on fresh evidence).

He has an extensive criminal appeals case load dealing with other serious criminal matters. R v Roger Fergerson [2010] NICA 9 (Murder conviction); R v R v Lawless [2009] EWCA Crim (CCRC referral on murder conviction); R v Thomas Graham [2010] NICA (Murder conviction).

Mark has lectured and tutored in criminal law and provides training on historic allegations of sexual abuse cases.

He is an active member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and spoke at the Regional Conference held in Nigeria in 2010 on the "Art of Advocacy". He is currently leading a project on the provision of legal training on Human Rights Law in Africa.


Criminal law

Mark works in both England and Northern Ireland as a leading junior counsel in both the Crown and Appellant Courts. He regularly undertakes complex and serious criminal work involving historic sexual allegations, drug importation, money laundering offences, offences involving young complainants and serious crime. He also has considerable experience in all criminal matters that come before the Courts.

He has considerable experience of criminal appeals and has undertaken a number of Criminal Cases Review Commissions referrals and specialises in all types of miscarriage of justice cases.

As Generic Counsel of the Historic Abuse Appeal Panel (HAAP) he undertakes reviews of convictions for historic offences in order to determine whether an appeal can be made on behalf of individuals who maintain their innocence. He also considers other miscarriages cases in both the English and Northern Ireland jurisdiction.

Mark has a particular interest in the issues surrounding the reliability of adult memories for childhood events which raises the question of childhood amnesia and the reliability of that evidence.

Military Law

He has a unique experience and understanding of military law, having been a senior Investigating Officer in the Army before he was called the Bar. He has considerable experience of appearing at Courts Martial and Courts Martial Appeal Court.


  • S & Ors v R. [2012] EWCA Crim 1433  (28 June 2012) (Fresh gynaecological evidence conviction quashed). More.
  • R v Chakwana (2012) Court of Appeal Belfast (13 June 2012) - rape conviction quashed. More.
  • R v Fr. Lewis (2012) Court of Appeal Belfast (17 January 2012) - Catholic priest convicted of indecent assault wins partial appeal against conviction 
  • R v H [2011] EWCA Crim 2344 - appeal against conviction of sexual abuse against three stepsons dismissed - mixed historic and recent sexual abuse case, originally heard at Preston Crown Court
  • Hamilton, R v [2011] NICA 56 (Court of Appeal Northern Ireland) (23 September 2011) - Conviction quashed due to the failure of the judge to direct the jury that bad character evidence admitted to correct a false impression could not be used to establish a propensity. Girvan J commented that the Crown Bench Book in Northern Ireland would benefit from amendment to reflect the court's decision (Matthew Stanbury as junior counsel). Judgment.
  • R v GJB [2011] EWCA Crim 867 (historic sexual abuse; conviction found to be unsafe on appeal due to unfair summing up by the trial judge - unfair summing up had included giving undue credence to unsupported assertions made by the Crown in relation to memory).
  • R v Geoffrey Arthur Hall (2011) conviction for engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child quashed by Court of Appeal. Media coverage.
  • R v Roger Fergerson [2010] NICA 9 (Murder conviction)
  • R v Thomas Graham [2010] NICA (Murder conviction)
  • R v DPMA [2010] NICA 22 (appeal involving doli incapax, young memories and inadequate directions)
  • R v AG [2010] NICA 20 (inadequate legal directions) judgment
  • R v W [2010] EWCA Crim 29.1.10 (inadequate summing up in a delay case)
  • R v H [2010] EWCA Crim 29.1.10 (Doli incapax and historic allegations)
  • Ian Lawless - murder conviction quashed in Court of Appeal (16 June 2009)
  • Ken MacKreth - posthumous appeal against conviction (referred by the Court of Appeal to the full court on 4/7/08). News item.
  • Joynson, R. v [2008] EWCA Crim 3049 (26 November 2008) (Court of Appeal quash carer's conviction from 1969). News item / Judgment.
  • R v Paul Hughes [2008] NICA 17 (inadequate directions; Conviction overturned in Northern Ireland on historic domestic allegations of sexual abuse)
  • R v K [A] [2007] EWCA Crim 1492 (childhood amnesia)
  • R v KF [2007] (CCRC referral historic allegations based on fresh evidence)
  • Leading junior in complex historic care home cases in Norwich, Birmingham and Hereford
  • R v K (A) [2007] EWCA Crim 1492 (Appeal against conviction for historic domestic sexual abuse case concerning childhood amnesia).
  • Anver Daud Sheikh v The Crown [2006] EWCA Crim 2625 (abuse conviction quashed for second time upon basis that no conviction could be safe given prejudice caused by delay; allegations made by former North Yorkshire children's home residents). News article / Judgment.
  • R. v. Robson and others [2006] EWCA Crim 2754 (correct approach in cases involving historic allegations of abuse from a care home involving multiple defendants) judgment
  • R v GG [2005] EWCA Crim 1792 (CCRC referral on domestic historic sexual abuse)
  • R v John Ely [2005] EWCA Crim 3248 (historic care home case)
  • R v Anver Sheikh [2004] EWCA Crim 387 (appeal against conviction allowed on fresh evidence)
  • R v Brizzalari [2004] EWCA Crim 310 (historic care home case)
  • R v Basil Rigby Williams [2003] EWCA Crim 693 - (miscarriage case involving historic allegations of abuse in children's homes (Operation Care) conviction quashed upon fresh evidence). Judgment.


"We particularly thank Mark Barlow... for [his]  outstanding advocacy  in the current spate of [Operation Pallial] cases".

Instructing solicitor 



  • Commonwealth Lawyers Association
  • Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers (FACT)
  • Historic Abuse Appeal Panel (HAAP)


1992. Also called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2006.


LLB (Hons)
Benefactors Scholar, Middle Temple