Barra McGrory KC SC

Call: 2016 NI:2009 RoI: 2019 | Silk: 2007 (Solicitor advocate) RoI: 2020 Sol:1987

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There are an impressive and well respected pool of advocates at this set.

Legal 500, 2022
Barra McGrory QC

Personal profile

Barra McGrory is a barrister of unrivalled experience in the areas of Crime law and Public Inquiry work. 

His early experience as a defence solicitor specialising in Terrorism work in Northern Ireland and his six years as Director of Public Prosecutions of Northern Ireland give him a unique insight into every aspect of the criminal justice process. 

He has an ability to master complex briefs and to quickly identify the essence of a case. He has developed advocacy skills at every level and was the first and so far, only solicitor to be awarded Queen’ Counsel. 

Having transferred his practice to the Bar in 2009, he has gone from strength to strength, appearing in the Supreme Courts of both Ireland and UK.

Sexual Offences

Barra McGrory has appeared in countless cases of contemporary and historical sex abuse for defence and prosecution.

Featured cases

  • R v M – achieved a stay in this case, during which the prosecution sought to admit evidence of an ABE interview as the sole and decisive evidence following the death of the complainant.

Serious & Organised Crime

Barra McGrory has extensive experience in this area, including experience of every aspect of the application of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

Featured cases

  • Appeared as counsel for AO’s (Assisting Offenders).
  • R v J & Ors – Defended in a lengthy firearms prosecution in the NE of England.
  • Supervised several significant prosecution decisions under this legislation as DPP.

Murder & Manslaughter

He has appeared as defence counsel in a number of murder trials.

Featured cases

  • DPP v A – The defence of Zoltan Almasi for murder in The Dublin Central Criminal Court in which no further evidence on murder was offered by the DPP following two trials in which juries were disagreed.


Barra McGrory has unrivalled Terrorism experience having represented many individuals tried in the non-jury courts in Northern Ireland. As DPP, he was the sole prosecuting decision maker in all cases taken under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Featured cases

  • R v R – In Bristol Crown Court, in which Mr Raymond was convicted of membership of National Action, a banned terrorist group and possession of documents, but significantly, was acquitted of four other counts of possession of documents.

Road Traffic Offences

As DPP Barra McGrory personally argued all unduly lenient sentencing cases in the Court of Appeal, among which was R v X – in which the sentences for Dangerous Driving causing death were revised upwards.

Human Trafficking

As DPP, Barra McGrory presided over significant investigations under Eurojust resulting in convictions for Human Trafficking.

Professional Discipline

Barra has appeared as defence counsel in the Court Martial in a military base in Germany of Ranger Martin who was accused of a serious assault on local girl in which the defence of insanity under the McNaughten rules was successfully argued.

International Criminal Law

As DPP, Barra McGrory played a significant role in the International Association of Prosecutors and in HOPAC (Commonwealth DPP’s) and contributed to the development of international prosecutorial policy.

Featured cases

  • Since returning to private practice he has been instructed to advise the DPP of Mauritius in the matter of the murder of Michaela McAreavey while on honeymoon in 2010.

Inquests & Inquiries

Aside from Criminal law, Barra’s other significant area of expertise is in public inquiry and inquest work.

He has played a very significant advocacy role in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Robert Hamill Inquiry and Rosemary Nelson Inquiry and is currently instructed in three of the outstanding legacy inquests being dealt with by the Legacy Inquest Unit presided over by Mr Justice Humphries. He is on the Legacy Inquest Senior Counsel Panel to advise coroner’s when appropriate. He was develop vetted as DPP and this status has recently been renewed by the Legacy Inquest Unit.

Featured cases

  • Bloody Sunday Inquiry: Appeared for the former Deputy First Minister, Martin Mc Guinness and 11 others alleged to have been senior members of the IRA on the day of the shootings. This was a very sensitive brief that required delicate handling and significant advocacy on his part. This was the key case in his successful application for silk in 2006.
  • Robert Hamill Inquiry: Barra appeared as QC for the Hamill family in this ‘Lawrence’ style inquiry into police failings into the controversial murder of Mr Hamill in a Co Armagh street in full view of police officers. The Inquiry ran for 10 months and has never reported due to ongoing prosecutions.
  • Rosemary Nelson Inquiry: Barra represented the husband and children of Rosemary Nelson, the solicitor, who was murdered by an under-car booby trap bomb. The inquiry looked at allegations of collusion of the RUC and examined the treatment of defence solicitors by police generally.


  • QUB: Joint Hons BA: Celtic languages and Ancient History. 1983
  • Law Society: Solicitor finals. 1987

Professional appointments

  • Director of Public Prosecutions Northern Ireland 2011-2018


  • Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Bar of England and Wales
  • Bar of Ireland


  • English
  • Irish