Professor David Ormerod QC (Hon)

Call: 2002 | 2013 (Honoris Causa)

  • Email
  • Direct phone

Great strength in depth both in relation to their expertise and breadth of experience from juniors through to their QCs.

Legal 500, 2022
David Ormerod QC

Personal profile

Described in Counsel (April 2017) towards the end of his tenure as Criminal Law Commissioner for England and Wales as universally respected and having an encyclopaedic knowledge of criminal law, intellectual rigour and practitioner focus.

David’s observations and analysis are frequently cited with approval in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and the Supreme Court. David Ormerod was called to the Bar in 2002 (Middle Temple). He became a member of Red Lion Chambers in 2003. He was instructed in various SFO and HMRC Prosecution Office fraud cases (both for the defence and the prosecution) including a junior defence brief in the Court of Appeal in the Pharmaceuticals case concerning cartels and conspiracy to defraud.

He became a Door Tenant when he was appointed a Law Commissioner in 2010, a post he held for almost 10 years and was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Honoris Causa) in 2013. He re-joined Chambers in 2022.

David is currently a Deputy High Court Judge, a Professor of Criminal Justice, Director of the Criminal Law Centre and joint Director of the Judicial Institute at UCL as well as a long standing lecturer on criminal law at the Judicial College. He was responsible in 2010 with Lord Justice Pitchford for redrafting the Specimen Directions to be used by Crown Court judges in directing juries and continues to be one of the editors of the Judicial College’s Crown Court Compendium. Since 2008 he has co-authored a monthly newsletter for all judges sitting in the criminal courts in England and Wales.

David has been the editor of Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law since 2002, editor in chief of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice since 2008, general editor of the Criminal Law Review since 2012, co-author of Ormerod and Montgomery on Fraud, co- author of Smith’s Law of Theft, a contributor and Consultant Editor to Halsbury’s Laws of England Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure and Evidence and a prolific contributor to journals and a lecturer in the UK and abroad. He chaired a sub-committee of the Leveson Review of Efficiency in Criminal Justice (2015) and appeared before Parliamentary Committees on Law Reform (2017); Legislative Standards (2017); House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Forensic Science (2018); Special Public Bill Committee on Sentencing (2019). His work at the Law Commission included reports on Expert Evidence in Criminal Proceedings (2011); Contempt of Court (2012-2013); Hate crimes (2014); Kidnapping and related offences (2014); Offences against the Person (2015); Firearms Law (2015); Unfitness to Plead (2016); the Sentencing Code (2018) and Anti-Money Laundering: the SARS regime (2019).

He was appointed Master of the Bench of Middle Temple in 2009, an Honorary Bencher of the Inn of the Court of Northern Ireland (2017) and a CBE in 2021 in recognition of his services to criminal justice.


  • LLB Hons


  • Master of the Bench of Middle Temple (2009)
  • Queen’s Counsel (Honoris Causa) (2013)
  • Honorary Bencher of the Inn of the Court of Northern Ireland (2017)
  • CBE (2021)

Professional Appointments

  • Deputy High Court Judge, Queen’s Bench Division (2018)
  • Joint Director of the Judicial Institute, UCL (2020 – date)
  • Professor of Criminal Justice, University College London (2015 – to date)
  • Honorary Professor, Queen Mary University of London (2015 – date)
  • General Editor, Criminal Law Review (2012-date)
  • Joint Editor in Chief, Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (2008 – date)
  • Criminal Law Commissioner for England and Wales (2010 – 2019)
  • Professor, Queen Mary University of London 2006-2015,
  • Professor, University of Leeds. 2002-2005
  • Professor, University of Hull. 2001-2002
  • Lecturer (1989-1998) and Senior Lecturer (1998-2001), University of Nottingham


  • Middle Temple (Bencher 2009)
  • CBA
  • North Eastern Circuit


Notable publications edited and authored

  • Smith, Hogan and Ormerod’s Criminal Law (6 editions; 4 co-authored with Karl Laird)
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England Criminal Procedure and Evidence (2010, 2016 and 2021) Con-tributor and Consultant Editor
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England Criminal Law (2010; 2015 and 2020) Contributor and Consultant Editor
  • Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod’s Essential of Criminal Law (4 editions with John Child)
  • Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod’s Text Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (5 editions; 3 with K Laird)
  • Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (2015-2022) Editor in Chief with David Perry QC
  • Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (2015) Editor in Chief
  • Fraud: Criminal Law and Procedure (2008) OUP ed with Clare Montgomery QC (with annual supplements)
  • Smith’s Law of Theft (9th ed 2007) OUP with David Williams
  • The Modern English Legal System (4th ed 2002) Sweet and Maxwell (with S. H. Bailey, M. J. Gunn & J. Ching)
  • Civil Liberties Cases & Materials (5th ed. 2001) Butterworths (with D.J. Harris, & S.H. Bailey)
  • Chapters in Books:
  • “Ivey v Genting” (2019) D Cleary (ed) Supreme Court Yearbook (2019) with K. Laird
  • “Reforming the Law of Unfitness to Plead in England and Wales: A Recent History (with M Bevan), in R Mackay and W Brookbanks Fitness to Plead: International and Comparative Perspectives (2018)
  • “Bad Character Provisions and their application to Sexual Offences” (with A Roberts and M Picton) in P Radcliffe, G Gudjonsson, A Heaton-Armstrong, and D Wolchover Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases. Evidential, Investigative and Scientific Perspectives (2016)
  • “Prosecution Interlocutory and Evidentiary Appeals” in R Taylor (ed) Criminal Appeals (2nd ed 2012)
    “Securing Reliable Expert Evidence” in A. Heaton Armstrong and D. Wolchover (eds), Analysing Witness Testimony (2006) OUP
  • “Expert Evidence” in L. Alison (ed.) Offender Profiling and Criminal Investigation (2005) Willan (with J. Sturman QC)
  • “The Concept of Fraud” in L. Dobbs and R. Sutton (eds.) Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure (2004) Butterworths (with D. H. Williams)
  • “Identification in Fraud Cases – Voices” in L. Dobbs and R. Sutton (eds.) Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure (2004) Butterworths
  • “The Police Reform Act 2002” Current Law Statutes Annotated (2002) Sweet and Maxwell (with A. Roberts)
    “Despite the Law: Prize-fighting and Professional Boxing” in S. Greenfield and G. Osborn (eds.) Sport and Law in Contemporary Society (2000) (with M.J. Gunn)
  • “Trial by Judge and Jury, Not Criminal Psychologist” in D. Canter and L. Alison (eds.) Beyond Profiling (1999) Dartmouth

Journal Articles in peer reviewed journals:

  • “The full picture or too much information? Evidential use of body-worn camera recordings” [2021] Crim. L.R. 620 (with A Roberts)
  • “Non-fatal strangulation and suffocation” [2021] Crim. L.R. 532 (with R Kelly)
  • “Time to dispense with the mute of malice procedure” [2020] Crim. L.R. 912 (with M Bevan)
  • “Jogee: not the end of a legal saga but the start of one?” [2016] Crim. L.R. 539 (with Karl Laird)
  • “From Simply Harsh to Fairly Simple: Joint Enterprise Reform” [2015] Crim. L.R. 15 (with W Wilson)
  • “Social networking material as criminal evidence” [2012] Crim. L.R. 486-512 (with M. O’Floinn)
  • “Social networking sites, RIPA and criminal investigations” [2011] Crim. L.R. 766-789 (with M. O’Floinn)
  • “Coroners and Justice Act 2009: the “witness anonymity” and “investigation anonymity” provisions” [2010] Crim. L.R. 368-388 (with A. Choo and R. Easter)
  • “Prosecution Appeals -Too much of a Good Thing?” [2010] Crim.L.R. 169-194 (with A. Waterman & R. Fortson)
  • “Bad character evidence and cross-admissibility” [2009] Crim. L.R. 313 (with R. Fortson)
  • “The Serious Crime Act 2007” [2009] Crim. L.R. 389-414 (with R. Fortson)
  • “The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007” [2008] Crim. L.R. 563 (with R. D. Taylor)
  • “Criminalising Lying: The Fraud Act 2006” [2007] Crim. L.R. 192-219
  • “Making Sense of Mens Rea in Statutory Conspiracies” [2006] CLP 185-230
  • “Abuse of Stay in Grant?” [2005] Covert Policing Review 5-15 (with A. Waterman)
  • “Drugs Suppliers as Manslaughterers (Again)” [2005] Crim LR 819-833 (with R. Fortson)
  • “The Evolution of Exclusionary Discretion” [2004] Crim. L.R. 767-788 (with D. Birch)
  • “Mind the Gaps” [2004] Crim. L.R. 266-283 (with N. Taylor)
  • “RIPA and the Interception of Communications” [2004] Crim. L.R. 15-38 (with S. McKay)
  • “Police Cells and Unwanted Bugs” [2003] Journal of Criminal Law 37-50
  • “The Police Reform Act 2002: Increasing Centralisation, Maintaining Confidence and Contracting Out Crime Control” [2003] Crim. L.R. 141-164 (with A. Roberts)
  • “ECHR & Exclusion of Evidence: Trial Remedies for Article 8 Breaches” [2003] Crim. L.R. 61-81
  • “Improving the Disclosure Regime” [2003] Int. Journal of Evidence & Proof 102-129
  • “Sounding Out Expert Voice Identification Evidence” [2002] Crim. L.R. 771-791
  • “Summary Evasion of Income Tax” [2002] Crim. L.R. 3-24
  • “The Trouble with Teixeira: A Principled Approach to Entrapment” [2002] Int. Journal of Evidence & Proof 32-61 (with A. Roberts)
  • “The Personality Paradox in Offender Profiling: A Theoretical Review of the Processes Involved in Deriving Background Characteristics from Crime Scene Actions” [2001] Psychology, Public Policy and Law (with L. Alison, C. Bennell and A. Mokros)
  • “Sounds Familiar: Voice Identification Evidence” [2001] Crim. L.R. 595-623
  • “Cautions with Tax Investigations” [2001] British Tax Review 194-206
  • “Criminalising HIV Transmission: Still No Effective Solutions” [2001] Common Law World Rev. 135-168
    “Legal Implications and Admissibility of Psychological Autopsies” [2001] Int. Journal of Evidence & Proof 1-31
  • “A Prejudicial View” [2000] Crim. L.R. 452-461
  • “Hansard Investigations & Confessions in Criminal Trials” [2000] Int. Journal of Evidence & Proof
  • “A Bit of A Con? The Law Commission’s Consultation Paper on Fraud” [1999] Crim. L.R. 789-804
  • “Redundant Res Gestae?” [1998] Crim. L.R. 301-316
  • “Cheating the Public Revenue” [1998] Crim.L.R. 627-646
  • “In Defence of Ireland” [1997] Web Journal of Current Legal Issues (with M.J. Gunn)
  • “The Hearsay Exceptions” [1996] Crim. L.R. 16-28
  • “Psychological Profiling” [1996] Journal of Forensic Psychiatry 341-352
  • “HIV – Criminal Liability for Transmission” [1996] Web Journal of Current Legal Issues (with M.J. Gunn)
  • “Reform of Implied Assertions” [1996] 60 Journal of Criminal Law 201-207
  • “Evidential Implications of Psychological Profiling” [1996] Crim. L.R. 863-877
  • “Law Commission Consultation Paper No 139: A Second Bash” [1996] Crim. L.R 694-707 (with M. J. Gunn)
  • “The Legality of Boxing” (1995) 15 Legal Studies 181-203 (with M.J. Gunn)
  • “Confidentiality in Children’s Cases” [1995] 7(2) Child and Family Law Quarterly 1-14
  • “Sado-Masochism” [1994] Journal of Forensic Psychiatry 123-133
  • “Law Commission Paper No. 134 Consent and Offences Against the Person [1994] 57 Mod-ern LR 928-940
  • “The Victim’s Mistaken Consent in Rape” [1992] Journal of Criminal Law 407-413

Editorials and commentaries on cases and topical issues

Since 1996, hundreds of commentaries on developments in criminal procedure, evidence and substantive law as well as editorial comments on topical criminal justice issues in the monthly Criminal Law Review.

Work undertaken at the Law Commission

  • Unfitness to Plead in Criminal Proceedings: Consultation Paper (2010)
  • Expert Evidence in Criminal Proceedings Report (2011)
  • Kidnapping and Related Offences: Consultation Paper (2011)
  • Contempt of Court: Consultation Paper (2012)
  • Insanity and Automatism: Scoping Paper (2012)
  • Contempt of Court: Scandalising the Court Report (2012)
  • Hate Crime: The Case for Extending the Offences – Consultation Paper (2013)
  • Contempt of Court (1): Juror Misconduct and Internet Publications Report (2013)
  • Insanity and Automatism: Discussion Paper (2013)
  • Contempt (2): Reporting Restrictions Report (2014)
  • Hate Crime: Should the Current Offences be Extended Report (2014)
  • Fitness to Plead: Issues Paper (2014)
  • Reform of Offences Against the Person: A Scoping Consultation Paper (2014)
  • Kidnapping and Related Offences Report (2014)
  • Offences Against the Person: Scoping Report (2015)
  • Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency Report (2015)
  • Sentencing Issues Paper 1 – Transition to the Code (2015)
  • Firearms Report (2015)
  • Fitness to Plead Report (2016)
  • Misconduct in Public Office Issues Paper (2016)
  • Misconduct in Public Office Consultation Paper (2016)
  • Sentencing Issues Paper 1 Report (2016)
  • Sentencing – the Current Law – Report (2016)
  • Protection of Official Government Data Consultation Paper (2017)
  • Criminal Records Disclosure Report (2017)
  • Sentencing Code: Draft Bill and Consultation Paper (2017)
  • Search warrants (2018)
  • Sentencing: Youths (2018)
  • Anti-Money Laundering: SARS regime Consultation Paper (2018)
  • Sentencing Code Bill and Report (2018)
  • Abusive and Offensive Online Communications Scoping Report (2018)
  • Anti-Money Laundering: SARS regime Report (2019)

Other experience