John McGuinness QC

John McGuinness QC

“”The man has the most incredible mind – his ability to analyse a case is second to none.”

Chambers & Partners 2018




BA (Law)


QC List for SFO Prosecution Panel & Proceeds of Crime Panel (2017)
Recorder of the Crown Court (2002 – present)
Panel Member: Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (2002 – present)
Panel Member: Disciplinary Tribunal of Financial Reporting Council (2014 – present)



Overview of Practice

John McGuinness is a recognised leader in advising public bodies and companies on a wide range of criminal and regulatory matters, including corruption, terrorism and disclosure. He is retained as leading counsel in cases such as those concerning allegations of multi-jurisdictional tax fraud. He is noted for his strong work ethic and persuasive advocacy style.

Conducts a wide range of appellate work, including: Appeals against conviction and sentence, Judicial Review; Appeal by Case Stated. He is regularly instructed in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in cases of criminal law, public law and human rights.

He has a wealth of experience in prosecuting and defending the most serious matters in the Crown Court including: Homicide, fraud, corruption, insider dealing and asset confiscation.

He appears in the Upper and First Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) appeals

Advises on all aspects of jurisdiction, specialist casework, regulatory, local authority licensing, taxi and private hire.

His current work includes:

Operations Larkspur : Alleged Fraudulent claims for legal costs from public funds
R v S & U – SFO prosecution of alleged fraud by company directors
R v A & C – FCA prosecution insider dealing

Practice Areas

Criminal Defence and Prosecution;
Fraud & Financial Regulation;
Asset Recovery, Restraint and Confiscation;
Business Regulation;
Public and Administrative Law;
Tax Litigation.

Exceptionally bright” he is “fantastic and very hard-working”

Chambers & Partners

“richly talented he finds nothing complicated”

Legal 500

Notable Cases

R v Gohil and others [2018] – Court of Appeal Jurisdiction of Court of Appeal to re-open an earlier appeal where defendant alleges prosecution failed to make proper disclosure

Belhaj v DPP  [2018] – Supreme Court  – Lawfulness of DPP decision not to prosecute in case of alleged extraordinary rendition

Mackinlay & Others[2018] Court of Appeal and Supreme Court: Definition of election expenses

DPP v Manchester & Salford MC [2017]Breathalyser – Duties of prosecution disclosure re third party material

R v  Docherty – [2017] – Supreme Court: Human rights; prohibition on retroactive penalties; application of “lex mitior” principle to domestic law

R v Jogee – [2016] – Supreme Court: Landmark ruling on mental element necessary for secondary party to be guilty of murder which abolished common law test of foresight as the necessary main reason for murder and other crimes of specific intent

R v Neuberg (No.2) – [2016] CA (Crim): Confiscation; offences committed in connection with the running of a business through a company

R v Johnson & Others – CA (Crim): Appeal; extension of time; change of law cases

Beghal v DPP – [2015] Supreme Court: compatibility of port powers to stop, search & interview with Article 6 and privilege against self-incrimination

AM v DPP – [2014] Supreme Court: challenge to assisted suicide policy by claimant with ‘locked-in syndrome

R v N – [2016] CA (Crim): Provision of confidential information to police for sentence discount

Fonecomp v HMRC – [2015] CA (Civil): VAT input credit, Kittel fraud, contra-trading

R v CW & Others – [2015] CA (Crim): AG’s consent to prosecutions

R v Tanev & Others (Operation Estuary) [2018]Importation of firearms across Europe into the U.K

R v Mirza and Taheer [2017] Leading counsel for the prosecution, responsible for presentation of the case (via timeline) where defendants of all the same family were convicted for preparing acts of terrorism. Substantial evidence in this case was sourced from electronic media.

R v X & Others – [2016-17] Complex fraud involving the creation, promotion and financing of tax investment schemes into major environmental projects and HIV and vaccines and medicines [6 month trial]

R v Chapman – [2016] Bribery of leading official at Nigerian mint by employee of contractor. On the day the Jury were due to retire, wide spread reporting by the Prime Minister of the corrupt nature of Nigeria led to an application to discharge the Jury and subsequently appeal against conviction

R v Marrache – [2013-14] 9 months trial: £40 million fraud trial in Gibraltar

R v Wilmot – [2011] £26 million ‘boiler room’ fraud