Peter Wilcock QC’s practice encompasses criminal defence (including appeals against conviction/sentence and applications to the both the Criminal Cases Review Commission) as well as Inquests, regulatory and crime-related civil proceedings. He has a particular interest in psychiatric issues and has sat as a Tribunal Judge in the MHRT for 13 years. Peter’s criminal work has encompassed the full range of serious offences from terrorism to organised crime and fraud.

Since taking silk in 2012 Peter has appeared in the Hillsborough Inquests (representing seven families), 15 murder trials, several large (and ongoing) fraud trials, the Birmingham riots trial (during which it was alleged the defendants attempted to shoot down a police helicopter), two cases of rape and child cruelty and an allegation of preparing for acts of terrorism. In addition, he has conducted a number of high-profile criminal appeals including the cases of Sam Hallam, Victor Nealon and Wang Yam.

As a junior, Peter appeared in many well-publicised successful appeals including Lorraine Harris, Suzanne Holdsworth and Ian Gay as well as a number of high-value fraud trials and high-profile terrorist trials including the liquid bombs airlines trial and Manchester/Afghanistan recruiting trial.

Peter is currently instructed in a number of ongoing large-scale fraud and murder trials listed for 2018. He is also representing a number of high-profile applicants whose cases are before the CCRC or the Court of Appeal.

Following the successful conclusion of the Hillsborough Inquests Peter has been instructed to advise in a number of ongoing Inquests and civil actions against the Police. He has a developing regulatory practice having recently acted in proceedings before the GMC and Traffic Commissioners.

Peter has also been called to the Bar in Northern Ireland.

He studied Law at the LSE where, following the completion of his degree, he was the General Secretary of the Student Union before joining Tooks Chambers where he practised for 24 years before joining Garden Court in 2013. Since 2004, Peter has been a part-time Tribunal Judge on the Mental Health Review Tribunal. He was appointed as an appraiser for Tribunals Service (Mental Health) in October 2009. He was a member of the 2010 Law Commission working party on “unfitness to plead – consultation paper No 197”.

Peter has provided Legal Advice in relation to Court room scenes for the BBC series Silent Witness and Rillington Place.

Notable Cases

Notable Cases

  • R v Wang Yam (July 2017)

    Represented appellant in high-profile appeal against conviction for murder in controversial “secret” trial. This case was reported in Newsnight and the Guardian and is the subject of a book “Blood on the Page: A Murder, a Secret Trial, a Search for the Truth”.

  • R v A (October 2016)

    Represented appellant in successful appeal against conviction for sexual offences.

  • R v Nealon (2014 EWCA Crim 574)

    Represented appellant in successful appeal – based on fresh DNA evidence – against his conviction for attempted rape. This case was covered by the BBC, the Guardian, and the Independent.

  • R v Thompson (2013 EWCA Crim 1746)

    Represented appellant in against conviction for murder based on trial judge’s failure to leave the partial defence of provocation.

  • R v Malik (2013 EWCA Crim 1649)

    Represented appellant in appeal against conviction for soliciting to murder based on interplay between conduct of co-accused’s case and propriety of resulting summing-up.

  • R v Hallam (2012)

    Represented appellant in his successful appeal against conviction for murder following a CCRC referral. This case was covered by the BBC.

  • R v Traynor (2012)

    Represented appellant in his appeal against conviction for murdering his wife following a CCRC referral.

Notable Cases

  • Richard Davies

    Represented parents of man shot by Police after armed stand-off.

  • Hillsborough (2013-2016)

    Peter represented seven families during the Hillsborough Inquests, in which the 96 people who died were found to have been unlawfully killed. His questioning at the inquest received widespread publicity. He led the families’ questioning extensively on the topics of stadium safety, police failings in controlling the build-up of supporters and police attempts to “cover-up” the disaster. This included questioning many of the senior officers involved in the disaster – including some of the match commanders (BBC 2nd October 2014), officers involved in the immediate police PR response to the disaster (Daily Mirror 20 April 2015), Sir Norman Bettison, former Chief Constable of Merseyside police (BBC 5th May 2015), junior police officers (Guardian 18 September 2014ITV 22nd September 2014) and stadium engineers (BBC 4th June 2014).

  • Wells (2010)

    Coroner’s inquest into death of patient detained under Mental Health Acts who was able to hang himself despite nominally being on five-minute observations. The jury returned a narrative verdict critical of the detaining authority.

  • Mola (2009)

    Coroner’s inquest into death of 23-year-old prisoner, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in his teens, who died of smoke inhalation after setting fire to cardboard furniture in his cell. Jury verdict was critical of decision by prison staff to allow him access to lighting materials given his previous history of starting fires both during previous prison sentences and outside. Inquest also covered prison service policy in relation to use of cardboard furniture and inaction in relation to implementation of cell rescue equipment.

  • Fearon (2006)

    Coroner’s inquest into shootings at Turnmills nightclub in April 2003 raising issues of police response to information they had received in advance of the shootings. Jury found that that information was not “communicated effectively between the relevant parties”, and that better communication might “have led to a more proactive action plan”. This case was reported in the Guardian.

"A clever, hardworking advocate, who is very capable and able to charm both judges and juries."
Legal 500 2017

"All-round excellent" and "the type of counsel you could never go wrong with."
Legal 500

Publications & Speaking

  • Member of 2010 Law Commission working party on “unfitness to plead – consultation paper No 197″
    ‘A timely reminder’ 158 New Law Journal466 2008
  • ‘Fresh Evidence in Criminal Appeals – Pendleton revisited,’ Archbold NewsDecember 2006
  • Article on the defence of provocation – Solicitors JournalMay 2006
  • ‘Criminal Justice Act 2003’ New Law Journal2004
  • ‘Fresh Evidence in the Court of Appeal; Pendleton – a Case Note’ New Law Journal2002
  • ‘Fitness to Plead Procedure: An adequate Protection?’ New Law Journal 439
  • ‘Crime & Disorder Act’ LAGJanuary 1999

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