Barristers / George QC

Mark George QC

Call Year: 1976, QC 2009, also called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2011
Qualifications: BA Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic studies (Cantab)
Areas of Practice: Criminal law, inquests, judicial review (criminal and prison law), human rights, US death penalty law
Tel: 0161 817 6377

"Very direct, focused and clear. He gets to the point and puts it across with passion."

Chambers and Partners 2016

"He is very thorough and prepared to fight for the client."

Chambers and Partners 2015

"a leading light on circuit"

Chambers and Partners 2013

"...admired for being 'a very clear thinker'."

Chambers and Partners 2012

"gives excellent advice..."

Chambers and Partners 2011

"thorough, hardworking and has good court room manner"

Legal 500 2011

"Solicitors praise Mark George for 'his mastery of a brief, knowledge of the law and rapport with the clients'."

Chambers and Partners 2009

"...enjoys a particularly privileged place in the region for 'the wealth of his experience and the regard he is held in'."

Chambers and Partners 2007

"acclaimed by peers for always being 'at the top of his game' ..."

Chambers and Partners 2006


Mark George Q.C. is a highly experienced defence trial advocate. He is regularly instructed in cases of murder, manslaughter, rape and other serious sexual cases. Before he took silk he was regularly briefed in serious cases of historic sexual assault, often representing teachers and carers. In silk he continues to defend in such cases. His extensive experience also includes many appearances in drug importation cases involving massive amounts of illegal drugs as well as other serious cases involving amongst others allegations of attempted murder.

Mark also has considerable experience of hearings before the Parole Board where he represents prisoners, particularly before lifer panels and has advised in many cases involving serving prisoners and their rights in areas such as sentence calculation and security categorisation. Mark undertakes judicial review work relating to prison law and criminal law such as challenges to decisions of the CCRC.

Mark undertakes inquests on behalf of bereaved families often following deaths in police or prison custody. Mark also represents interested parties at high profile inquests following controversial deaths and where substantial cross-examination of police officers is required.  Mark is currently instructed along with Pete Weatherby QC on behalf of 22 families who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough disaster.

Inquest experience includes:

  • Hillsborough Inquests (2014, ongoing)  more
  • Inquest into the death in custody of a young offender (Clayton) where the jury were scathing of the standard of care provided to him (2009, Stafford)
  • Represented the family of a man killed on a night out in Liverpool in 2003 who was killed by a single punch – Coroner gave verdict of unlawful killing (2008).
  • Represented mother at inquest into death of a schoolboy who appeared to have hanged himself at school (2008, Scunthorpe)
  • Death in custody of female prisoners at HMP New Hall (2008)
  • Kingsway Hospital inquest (2007, 8 weeks, Derby) 

Mark is an opponent of the death penalty and has a strong interest in death penalty cases in the United States. He is currently  Visiting Practitioner  at the  Centre for American Legal Studies at Birmingham City University and is on the editorial panel for the  British Journal of American Legal Studies.  In 1998 he worked pro bono in a capital murder trial in Texas where he assisted the local attorneys with the preparation of the case for trial. This involved being temporarily admitted as a member of the Texas Bar. Since that time he has been involved with  Amicus  , an organisation which trains young lawyers to undertake internships in the US assisting in death penalty trials and appeals. He regularly teaches at the Amicus training sessions in trial procedures in capital cases, jury selection and mitigation issues, and in 2012 he delivered a popular lecture tour on "death penalty in the US" to a number of law schools and universities across the UK  more  . He has also  written a number of articles for the Amicus Journal  on aspects of US death penalty law. In 2008 Mark became a trustee of the charity. Mark has been involved with writing  Amicus Curiae briefs  in three US Supreme Court cases. In 2009 he assisted in writing a brief on behalf of the BHRC outlining the UK position on life sentences for young offenders in the UK in the case of  Graham v. Florida  where the challenge was against life without parole for those aged under 18  more  . In 2011 he helped draft an amicus curiae brief in the case of  Manuel Valle  on death row in Florida for over 33 years in which he argued that comparison with the position in UK law showed that execution after such a length period on death row together with the failure to provide a meaningful clemency process would contravene international law standards  more  . In 2012 he assisted in writing a brief on behalf of the BHRC in support of the main petition and which argued the international perspective as well as citing the law in England & Wales on the sentencing of juveniles convicted of murder in the case of  Miller v Alabama  heard together with  Jackson v Hobbs  from Arkansas where the challenge was against life without parole for juvenile murderers more  .

Mark is experienced in providing legal commentary for media broadcasters including BBC News, Radio 4 and 5 and ITV and he also regularly authors analysis and opinion articles in both the legal press and  GCN criminal law updates  and his blog . In January 2013 he took part in a panel discussion on "Miscarriages of Justice and Jury Trials"  hosted by  Kings College London Think Tank Society  (  photos of the debate can be seen here  ).  In May 2013, Mark was a vocal opponent in the campaign against the Transforming Legal Aid (PCT / QASA) proposals  more  .

Recent and notable cases

  • R v Hanif and Bakish Allah Khan [2014] EWCA Crim 1678 - police officer on jury case - Court of Appeal allows appeal after CCRC reference news story
  • Acted for Assad Hussain, one of 9 defendants in the  Oxford sex-grooming case   at the Old Bailey (Jan to May 2013) News story   
  • R v Ahmed (Imtiaz)  [2013] EWCA Crim 99 - appeal against IPP sentence for manslaughter - substituted with hospital order with restrictions under s. 37 and s. 44 Mental Health Act 1983  UK Criminal Law Blog commentary by Mark George QC  /  Crimeline commentary and link to transcript
  • R v H  (Manchester Crown Court - December 2012) defended man accused of causing brain injury to young child in alleged shaking case, leading  Brigid Baillie  
  • R v Royle  (Manchester Crown Court - July 2012) defended man accused of murder of old lady in Shaw.
  • R v Mitchell  (2012) Defendant, a professional boxer, acquitted of murder of student by punching, leading  Nina Grahame  
  • Hanif and Khan v UK  [2011] 296 ECHR Police officer's presence on jury made trial unfair  news story / judgment
  • R v Peter Wilson  (Preston Crown Court - September 2011) Primary school teacher acquitted of sex assault charges on pupils  news story
  • R v Power  (Manchester Crown Court - May 2011) Defended man accused of murder at a pub in Prestwich in July 2009.
  • R v Thompson  (Sheffield Crown Court - 2011) Represented defendant charged with rape of a woman walking her dog near Elsecar reservoir in S Yorkshire in 2010.
  • R v Ogumbiyi and ors  (Leeds Crown Court - February 2011) - attempted murder - following attack of Bosnian War criminal Radislav Krstic in his cell whilst serving sentence at HMP Wakefield read BBC news coverage  /  read Guardian news coverage
  • Morris, R (on the application of) v Criminal Cases Review Commission  [2011] EWHC 117 (Admin) (07 February 2011) news story / judgment
  • R v Hughes  [2010] EWCA Crim 1026 - life sentence quashed and hospital order under s. 37/41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 substituted judgment
  • R (Mohammed Ali) v. Director of High Security  [2009] EWHC 1732 (Admin) (Category A prisoners designated as either "high" or "exceptional" escape risk are entitled to be given sufficient reasons for the decision to maintain that status so as to enable them to decided whether to challenge that decision) news story/ judgment
  • R v Thompson  (Stafford Crown Court - September 2009) represented soldier charged with murdering his 21 month old stepson - Prosecution accepted plea to manslaughter read BBC news item
  • R v Hughes  [2009]; [2010] 1 Cr. App. (S.) 25 EWCA Crim 841 - successfully argued that reference by Att. General does not extinguish defendant's right to subsequently appeal on grounds of fresh evidence.
  • R v Fields  (Nottingham Crown Court - 2009) conspiracy to defraud the Revenue (£1.2m).
  • R v Ian Price  (Birmingham Crown Court March 2009) acquitted of attempting to murder his wife by rigging up a device to start a fire during the night.
  • R v Little  (Chester Crown Court November 2008) partial acquittal of teacher charged with serious sexual assault on pupil who developed a crush on him.
  • R v Cooper  (Sheffield Crown Court October 2008) successfully defended man charged with attempted murder.
  • R v Noel Matthews  (Stafford C.C. July 2008) jury failed to agree in case alleging multiple sexual assaults on step-daughter. No re-trial.
  • R v Brereton and others  (Sheffield C.C. April 2008) Application to dismiss indictment against environmental protesters arrested in relation to campaign against widening of M1 motorway upheld by judge.
  • R v Bakish Khan and others  [2008] EWCA Crim 531, The Times 07/04/08 (whether police officer who knows officers who are to give evidence can serve on juries) news story / judgment
  • R v Robinson  (Manchester Crown Court - 2008) guilty plea to offence under s.113 Anti-Terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001 (sending noxious thing likely to cause harm or intimidate) by alleged member of the SNLA who had sent packages containing caustic soda to two people. Sentenced to 6 years imprisonment.
  • R v Omar Altimimi  [2007] (offences under Terrorism Act; first trial in Manchester involving allegations of conduct linked to "Middle Eastern" terrorism) news story
  • R v S  (Andrew) [2007] 1 W.L.R. 63; [2006] 2 Cr. App. R. 437 (introducing evidence of the bad character of the complainant).
  • R v Ablewhite and ors  (Nottingham Crown Court - 2006) the Staffordshire guinea pig farm case news story
  • R v AN  (Birmingham Crown Court - 2006) - money laundering.
  • R v Holliday; R v Leboutillier  [2005] 1 Cr.App.R(s).349 (70) (nuisance phone calls by animal rights activists).
  • R v AB  [2005] (VHCC case).
  • R v James Carragher  [2004] (VHCC case, leading counsel) (buggery and indecent assault).
  • A-G's Ref . Nos 58/66 of 2002 (R. v. Coudjoe and others)   [2003] EWCA Crim 636 (on the levels of sentence for street gangs involved with firearms and drug supply).
  • R.v. Khan (Umer) sub nom. R.v. Dad and others  [2002] EWCA Crim 945; [2003] Crim L.R. 684 (regarding hostile witnesses).

Mark was junior counsel in the case of  R.v. Khan (Sultan)  [1997] A.C. 558; [1996] 2 Cr. App. R. 440 in which the Crown sought to rely on evidence obtained from a covert listening device placed in a private home. The case exposed the lack of statutory regulation of surveillance at the time and forced the government to introduce legislation to put such activities by the police and security services on a statutory footing. This was achieved first through the Police Act 1997 (Part III) and then by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.


Crime Silks : Northern (2016) "Draws on his 35 years of experience to work on high-profile cases on the circuit. He is known as a strong advocate and is recognised as a presence in the market . Strengths:   "Very direct, focused and clear. He gets to the point and puts it across with passion."  Recent work:  He is currently working on the ongoing inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster." Chambers and Partners 2016

Crime Silks : Northern (2015)  "Acts for clients on the full range of general crime work. He regularly acts on cases involving sexual offences and murder.  "He is very thorough and prepared to fight for the client." " Chambers & Partners 2015  more

Crime Silk : Northern (2014)  ‘A highly experienced defence trial advocate with expertise in serious offence cases.’ Legal 500 2014  more

Crime Silks : Northern (2013)  "Garden Court North houses Mark George QC,  a leading light on circuit  who is also qualified at the Bar of Northern Ireland. He has a strong track record of defending cases of historic sexual abuse. A significant recent case for him was Hanif & Khan v UK, a matter in the ECHR concerning the fairness of a trial that saw a police officer serving on the jury." Chambers & Partners 2013  more

Crime - Northern Circuit (2012)  "Mark George QC has a  well-established reputation for serious crime cases ." Legal 500 2012  more

Crime - Northern Circuit - Silks (2012)  "Mark George QC is at the same set and is  admired for being "a very clear thinker."  His recent work includes acting for the defence in R v Power, a case involving an accusation of murder in a Prestwich pub." Chambers & Partners 2012  more

Crime - Northern Circuit (2011)  "Mark George QC is ' thorough, hardworking and has good court room manner', and handles the most serious of criminal cases ." Legal 500 2011  more

Crime - Northern Circuit - Silks (2011)  " Mark George QC of Garden Court North  gives excellent advice  and is noted for the frequency with which he undertakes pro bono work. His practice is strongly geared towards complex murder and conspiracy to murder cases." Chambers & Partners 2011  more

Crime - Northern Circuit (2010)  "Mark George QC is a ' very thorough and safe pair of hands'  for criminal defence work" Legal 500 2010  more

New silks in Crime : Northern (2010)   :   "An 'excellent attorney' who just recently took silk, Mark George QC of Garden Court North has regularly appeared on behalf of teachers and carers accused of serious sexual assaults."  more

Leading Junior in Crime : Northern (2009)  "Solicitors praise Mark George for 'his mastery of a brief, knowledge of the law and rapport with the clients'.His practice is predominantly trial-based, and covers all serious criminal matters. He acted in R v Omar Altimini, the first trial in Manchester involving allegations linked to Middle Eastern terrorism." Chambers and Partners 2009  more

Leading Junior in Crime : Northern (2008)  "...the very talented Mark George ..." Chambers and Partners 2008  more

Leading Junior in Crime : Northern (2007)  "Garden Court North's Mark George enjoys a particularly privileged place in the region for 'the wealth of his experience and the regard he is held in.' He is best known for undertaking historical abuse cases and defending teachers. This year, however, he spent a good deal of his time involved in the Kingsway Hopsital Inquest into a number of deaths on the geriatric ward in the 1990s. He has also tackled a number of high-profile animal rights-related cases." Chambers & Partners 2007  more

Leading Junior in Crime : Northern (2006) : "Representing Garden Court North is Mark George, acclaimed by peers for always being 'at the top of his game' and having cultivated an impressive serious crime practice." Chambers & Partners 2006.  more

Articles and media comment

Mark publishes regular commentary on his own blog   In addition he writes articles and frequently provides media commentary:

Editorial panel:   British Journal of American Legal Studies

Professional Associations

Also a tenant at  Garden Court Chambers  , London.
Trustee of  Amicus  (Assisting Lawyers for Justice on Death Row).
Member of Manchester Prison Law Practitioners Group (MPLPG)

Personal profile

Mark determined to become a lawyer after seeing TV footage in the mid 1960s of American police officers beating civil rights demonstrators. He wanted to represent people fighting for their rights against the power of the state. Despite this he did not study law at university. Instead he read medieval history at Cambridge in the early 1970s and in his third year he decided that the chance to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic history was too great to resist. He spent part of that final year writing a dissertation on the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells, two of the great illuminated Gospel books of early Ireland. Even today he retains a very keen interest in this subject.

Having qualified as a lawyer he joined a small radical set of chambers then located at the top of Farrer's Building in the Temple in London. Many of his first cases involved defending protesters arrested after a large anti-Nazi demonstration against the National Front in South London in 1977. Subsequently he has represented many protesters from political groups as well as miners, print workers, environmentalists and animal rights activists. In 1981 the chambers moved and became 2 Garden Court and has since grown to over 100 tenants. In 2006 these chambers moved to Lincoln's Inn and are now known as Garden Court Chambers. Although Mark's work is now entirely in the north of England he remains a member of the chambers at Garden Court in London.

Mark is determined to provide each client with an excellent service. He will take time to explain all the options to the client including the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the case and will be concerned to make sure that the client understands what is happening in the preparation of his/her case. He has a strong empathy with his clients and whilst providing a thoroughly professional service will also make the client feel relaxed and able to discuss his/her concerns. Mark will provide as strong and resolute a defence as possible and will endeavour to obtain the best possible outcome for every client. He is known for the thoroughness of his preparation in all cases.

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Mark George QC

Name: Mark George QC
Call Year: 1976, QC 2009, also called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2011

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16/8/16 Manchester Peterloo Massacre anniversary - GCN and others challenge UAE Human Rights record

15/8/16 Landlords behaving badly - damages for dispossession

15/8/16 Pete Weatherby QC on renewed critique of IPP sentences

27/7/16 3-Judge Upper Tribunal panel allows Tax Credit Appeals test case

26/7/16 Tribute to Bryan McGuire QC 

20/7/16 Tenants and borrowers subjected to unlawful evictions (defective N325 forms)

8/7/16 LALY16 outstanding achievement award for GCN Hillsborough team

29/6/16 Tom Royston speaking at LAG Housing Law Conference

24/6/16 Certifying asylum and human rights claims as “clearly unfounded”  

17/6/16 GCN immigration team response to MoJ consultation on tribunal fees

GCN sponsors PLP JR North conference 14.7.16 Manchester

Immigration and EU law for housing lawyers - the new Immigration Act, Brexit and more | Housing seminar | 6.7.16

The Immigration Act 2016 | Immigration seminar | 1.7.16

GCN to host INQUEST Conference and fundraising quiz 16.6.16

Mark George QC speaking at YLAL North meeting 15.6.16

20/5/16 Joe Markus shortlisted for LALY Legal Aid Newcomer Award

GCN Criminal Law update May 2016

26/4/16 Truth Justice Accountability | Hillsborough 22 Families Press Conference

26/4/16 A landmark day in legal history - Hillsborough Inquests

11/4/16 Recompense for the wrongfully convicted (Nealon)

22/3/16 Supreme Court grants permission in Kiarie

18/3/16 Not guilty verdict for Chetham violin teacher

4/3/16 GCN wins Barristers' Chambers of the Year at MLA 2016

29/2/16 Permission to appeal in relation to adult dependent relative rule

17/3/16 GCN launches new Appeals and Miscarriages of Justice Team

18/2/16 Considering Jogee: Joint Enterprise, Retrospective Effect and Fresh Appeals - Mark George QC and Matt Stanbury

11/2/16 CART-style JR of Upper Tribunal succeeds  

9/2/16 Appeal allowed in "police officer on jury" case after CCRC referral  

8/2/16 Permission granted in best interests (grandchild) immigration appeal

5/2/16 Repeated acquittals in historic cases

3/2/16 Housing allocation scheme - discrimination challenge by Irish Traveller

27/1/16 Bedroom Tax victory

GCN barristers present PLP "How to JR"

Matt Stanbury presents "JR for criminal practitioners"

25/1/16 SSHD failure to apply own policy to Victim of Trafficking

5/1/16 Important statelessness JR (Semeda)

5/1/16 GCN members elected to BHRC Exec Committee

18/12/15 GCN remains totally committed to first class representation through legal aid

17/12/15 Permission granted in trafficking JR

16/12/15 Natalie Wilkins writes in  Family Law

15/12/15 Gary Willock on delay in obtaining Legal Aid

12/12/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme 2009 Appeal now listed for Feb 2017

11/12/15 Court of Appeal quashes extended sentence

23/11/15 Sentence reduced (serious health problems and delays)

12/11/15 GCN Housing Bulletin: disrepair and injunctions

3/11/15 Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks GCN in Band 1

Tom Royston speaking at CPAG seminar

30/10/15 Transgender prisoners

26/10/15 Successful out of time sentence appeal

Anti-Slavery Day event

30/9/15 Acquittal in Operation Pallial

28/9/15 Immigration FTT recognizes appellant as Victim of Trafficking (VOT)

24/9/15 Immigration FTT relies on Trafficking JR

17/9/15 Legal 500: Counsel "easy to work with and quickly engage"; Clerks "consistently very helpful"

11/9/15 FGM Protection Order to safeguard 13 year old taken to Sudan

9/9/15 Ben McCormack Court of Protection talk for YLAL North

14/7/15 GCN crime team support Rally to Save Criminal Legal Aid

30/6/15 GCN crime team "It's time we took action"

12/6/15 Mark George QC on IPCC Orgreave report

Kate Stone chairs PLP "Private Law for Public Law Practitioners"

4/6/15 Art 8 defences for Canal and River Trust  

Lucy Mair speaking at "Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law" 7.7.15 (Lancaster)

28/5/15 Lucy Mair discusses Eve Ensler's "Avocado" human trafficking monologue

27/5/15 Lucy Mair on trafficking JR (Free Movement)

13/5/15 Abuse of process argument succeeds

Pete Weatherby QC  at Haldane "Child Sex Abuse Inquiry" Lecture 

Pete Weatherby QC at Prisoners' Advice Service panel discussion

20/4/15 Matt Stanbury on Bad News for Good Character

20/3/15 Sex Offender Notification Reviews Guidance

4/3/15 Joe Markus appointed to EHRC Panel of Counsel

26/2/15 S222 injunction to restrain begging in Leeds City Centre

16/2/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme was unlawful

13/2/15 Rory O'Ryan appointed as Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge

27/1/15 Permission granted in homelessness affordability appeal

13/1/15 Kate Stone on Human Rights and Arms Trade Treaty

5/1/15 GCN move to Blackfriars House profiled in M.E.N

15/12/14 Gudanaviciene (exceptional funding)   

10/12/14 Landmark Supreme Court decision on ISP Prisoners

5/12/14 UT decision on Bereavement Benefits and telephone marriage

13/11/14 Permission to appeal granted in benefits case

10/10/14 Pete Weatherby QC wins Legal 500 Regional Silk Award 2014

3/10/14 Clerks  "first class " in Legal 500 2014