Ian Unsworth QC

Year of Call 1992, Year of Silk 2010

Ian Unsworth QC has vast experience in dealing with cases of the utmost complexity, seriousness and sensitivity.

His practice embraces serious and complex crime, serious fraud, regulatory, sports law and all areas requiring the skills of a specialist advocate.



His clients include prosecuting agencies, major defence firms, off shore prosecuting agencies, police forces, regulatory bodies, niche regulatory firms, FTSE 100 companies, company directors and organisations and individuals connected with professional sport.

He provides specialist advice to companies and directors.

He likes to be involved in cases from the earliest opportunity and embraces a team approach to litigation. Always accessible, Ian provides clear and robust advice to his clients in a direct and straightforward manner.


Additional information

He works tirelessly for those instructing him and seeks to provide advocacy of the highest order.

Ian practices as a Criminal, Public Access and Sports Law barrister.



“Recognised particularly for his expertise in heavyweight crime cases, including those concerning complex murder and serious fraud. He acts for both the prosecution and defence.” Chambers and Partners 2014

“The next superstar of the Northern Circuit. He is heavily in demand.” Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2013


Serious and Complex Crime

Ian Unsworth QC has appeared in hundreds of criminal cases over a period spanning 22 years. He has acted in countless cases involving Murder, International Drugs Conspiracies, Gangland Warfare, Serious Fraud, Corruption and all categories of Heavy Crime.

He relishes being involved in a case from a very early point.

He always seeks to ensure that the key issues are identified at a very early stage. His work in Murder cases has brought about a keen interest in Pathology, Medicine generally and all areas of Forensic Science.

He is fully computer literate and at ease working in a paperless environment. The future is Apple!

His work in Complex Fraud cases has enabled him to gain considerable experience of Asset Tracing, Banking, Computer Law, Confiscation, Money Laundering, VAT frauds and numerous other instances of White Collar allegations.

Whether his client is an individual or an organisation, Ian will work tirelessly on their behalf and will always seek to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of a just outcome.


Serious Fraud

Before taking Silk, Ian Unsworth QC was a member of the Attorney General’s A List of Prosecuting Counsel and was also, at that time, one of only 2 Northern Circuit members of the Serious Fraud Office A List. He has vast experience in dealing with cases of the utmost complexity, seriousness and sensitivity.

He provides specialist advice and representation to a range of clients, including companies, company directors, FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, major defence firms, prosecuting agencies including CPS Fraud Group, off shore prosecuting agencies, police forces, regulatory bodies, niche regulatory firms as well as individuals.

He is a member of Fraud Barristers Direct which provides direct niche advice and specialist representation in cases involving allegations and investigations of white collar crime.

He has extensive knowledge of VAT Carousel Frauds, Asset Tracing, Banking and Computing Law, Confiscation, Off – Shore Jurisdictions, Money Laundering and all White Collar related crime.

His cases have involved enormous investigations involving alleged frauds worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Often, these cases involve monies being moved across several continents.

He likes to be involved in cases from the earliest opportunity and embrace a team approach to litigation.

He always seeks to be accessible, down to earth and provide clear and robust advice to his clients in a direct and straightforward manner. He works tirelessly for those instructing him and always seeks to provide oral and written advocacy of the highest order.


Sports Law

Ian Unsworth QC advises and represents International Athletes, Sporting Organisations, Sports Management Companies, Professional Footballers Rugby League players and other elite sporting individuals.

His knowledge of medical matters has meant that he has developed a keen interest in cases involving allegations of anti-doping as well as concussion.

He has appeared before Disciplinary and Regulatory Tribunals as well as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He has represented various professional sportsmen and other individuals connected with sport in proceedings before the Crown Court.

He has a deep interest in many Sports, including Football, Rugby Union (being a qualified coach and former Chairman of a Junior and Minis section of a National League Rugby Union Club) and Golf (being a single figure handicap golfer as a junior).

His love of multi-sports has led to him becoming an age-group triathlete: he is now working (slowly) towards his first Ironman.

In 2014 he completed the Virgin London Marathon as well as the Great North Swim.

Professionally Ian Unsworth QC sits as an RFU Disciplinary Chairman and Single Judicial Office. He is on the RBS 6 Nations Panel and in the Summer of 2014 will be a Judicial Officer for the World Club Sevens Tournament.

In dealing with high profile athletes and organisations, he understands the need for clear advice, discretion and sensitivity.


Regulatory & Disciplinary

Prior to becoming a Barrister, Ian Unsworth QC worked in a management role in private industry.

He graduated in Business Law and hence Ian has developed an expertise and a keen interest in Regulatory and Disciplinary Law.

His cases have included those involving Environment, Health and Safety, Business, Innovation and Skills, Revenue and Customs as well as Transport. His clients have included Government organisations, private individuals, small, medium and large organisations, FTSE 100 blue chip corporate bodies.

In Disciplinary Proceedings he has acted in cases involving professionals both from commerce and cross-over areas of sport.

He is a firm believer in early advice and identification of the issues as being key to a successful outcome.

The clerking office will be able to recommend Mr Unsworth if he is suitable for your particular case.


Contact a clerk | Visit Criminal law | Visit Public Access | Visit Sports law

Recent cases
Operation Needles
Major Drugs Ring with International Dimension.
Operation Shootout
Multi-million pound alleged MTIC fraud.
Advised Management Company of Premier League and International Footballer.