Out of Hours:
07710 077 419 
020 7520 6000  
East Anglia:
01245 280 880
David Etherington QC

David Etherington QC

Call: 1979     Silk: 1998

T: 0207 520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

David Etherington QC is an established criminal and regulatory barrister with over 35 years’ experience.  He was previously Head of Chambers at Red Lion Chambers and his criminal practice focuses on fraud and serious organised crime, he is acknowledged as a leader well known to solicitors who instruct in these areas. He is described in Chambers UK 2016 as ‘highly praised by instructing solicitors as one of the Financial Crime Bar’s heavy hitters’ and as having “extensive expertise in complex and serious fraud matters including those relating to Ponzi schemes, pensions and property” and as ‘a superb jury advocate’. He has also defended in many cases of murder and other serious criminal cases including the gangland murders involving Britain’s first black-on-black supergrass and the case of the so-called ‘Walthamstow cannibal’.

David believes in team work and placing the client at the centre of the process. In an earlier edition of Chambers UK he was praised for ‘his client care and advocacy skills’.

In addition to his criminal practice, David has substantial experience in the regulatory field, having been Chairman on the Professional Conduct Committee and the Professional Practice Committee of the Bar Council, as well as a member of both committees for over ten years.  Additionally, he has also been a legal adviser to the General Optical Council and General Dental Council and has defended in front of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

David has also acted as legal adviser to a number of television drama series, such as Kavanagh QC, The Brief, Judge John Deed, Wing and a Prayer and Incognito (film) as well as advising in factual programmes such as Hypthotheticals in which he also appeared as a panellist. He was the legal adviser to The Verdict (2006) and The Trial (2017) in which real juries, together with actual barristers and judges, tried two fictional cases to explore the workings of the jury system.

Homicide and Serious Organised CrimeFinancial Crime

Recent cases include defending in a quadruple murder case involving allegations of drugging young homosexual men R v Port (2016) and defending a consultant gynaecologist R v P (2016) for alleged sexual assaults on patients.

Defended in major Cornish currency fraud R v Benstead (2017) which was the first fully digital fraud trial and appeared for the defence in Operation Amazon (the alleged carbon trading tax evasion fraud) tried throughout much of 2017 at Southwark Crown Court.

Inquiries & Appellate Work

Successfully appealed before the Court of Appeal a rape conviction in a fresh evidence rape case featuring psychiatric evidence not available at trial R v B (2017) and appeared for the appellant in the Supreme Court examining the law concerning diminished responsibility in murder R v Golds [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 18.



Chambers UK (2020) and (2021): Crime – Band 1

Chambers UK (2021): Financial Crime – Band 2

Legal 500 (2021): Fraud: Crime

Legal 500 (2020) and (2021): Crime – Tier 2

  • ‘A clever, witty advocate who has oodles of confidence, talent and judgement. He has the great skill of being able to inject humour into a case.’ Chambers UK 2021
  • ‘An exceptionally good advocate – he’s very measured, very persuasive and always on top of his facts.’ Chambers UK 2021
  • ‘He’s wonderful with clients and has a delightful beside manner.’ Chambers UK 2021
  • ‘David is an exceptional barrister in every sense. He has a superb legal mind which distills complex legal issues into simple and concise arguments. He is one of the finest jury advocates that I have seen, expert in all that he does especially in cross-examination as well as in his closing speeches.’ Legal 500 2021
  • ‘Presence, presentation, panache, precision and persuasiveness. He is a great cross-examiner.’ Legal 500 (2021)
  • ‘The best closing speech maker at the Bar.’ – Legal 500 2020
  • ‘A counsel of choice for fraud matters.’ – Legal 500 2020
  • ‘Excellent in terms of his drafting and the quality of his advocacy at appellate level. He is typically the most knowledgeable person in the courtroom.’ – Chambers UK 2020, Crime
  • ‘An exceptional jury advocate, who is calmness personified, but who has a steely edge. David is first class in terms of his advocacy, client skills, personality and presence. He ticks all the boxes’ – Chambers UK 2020, Crime
  • ‘Held in extremely high regard, he’s someone who commands authority, and is thorough, fluid and very elegant. He has exceptional technical skills and is extremely approachable.’ Chambers UK 2020, Financial Crime
  • ‘David is an outstanding and well-reasoned defence advocate whose oral advocacy is clever, concise and delivered with both flair and courtesy.’Chambers UK 2018
  • ‘A highly renowned silk lauded by interviewees for being ‘incredibly talented.’  Chambers UK 2018
  • Market sources highlight him for his ‘persuasively charming’ advocacy style. Chambers UK 2018
  • Highly respected and experienced silk who is considered by commentators to be in a ‘league of his own.’ An ‘elegant wordsmith,’ he possesses in-depth knowledge of all areas of criminal law including fraud. Interviewees praise his jury advocacy in particular.Chambers UK 2017
  • He has real flair and is a very elegant advocate.’ ‘A class act with a great jury manner who knows how to handle a judge.’ ‘Good-humoured, succinct and to the point.’ – Chambers UK 2017
  • Well known for his astute and effective counsel across a variety of criminal matters, he regularly defends in high-value investment fraud cases. Interviewees praise him for his attractive advocacy style and diligent case preparation. – Chambers UK 2017
  • One of the most well-known and best prepared barristers around,’ who ‘produces advocacy of the highest standard. – Chambers UK 2017
  • He gives a great speech and is able to command the trust and respect of the most difficult clients. – Legal 500 2017
  • Highly praised by instructing solicitors as one of the Financial Crime Bar’s heavy hitters. Has extensive expertise in complex and serious fraud matters including those relating to Ponzi schemes, pensions and property. ‘ A superb jury advocate.’ Chambers UK 2016
  • Praised for his client care and advocacy skills  . . A delight to listen to in court’Chambers UK 2014

  • Education

    See more

    M.A. (Oxon) Jurisprudence, Keble College 1976

    Diploma in Public and Social and Public Administration (Distinction), Keble College, Oxford 1977


    See more

    Criminal Bar Association

    Ecclesiastical Judges’ Association

    Middle Temple  (Bencher 2005)

    South Eastern Circuit


    Professional Appointments

    See more

    Recorder (2000-present)

    Chancellor of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich (2009-present)

    Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Ely (2012 -present)

    Sometime Legal Adviser to the General Dental Council and the General Optical Council

    Former Chairman, Professional Conduct Committee and Professional Practice Committee of the Bar


    See more

    Leading Silk in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar directories (see Recommendations)