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Chambers of Mark Ellison QC

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David Spens QC

Work 020 7933 8855
QEB Hollis Whiteman (Chambers of Mark Ellison QC)


David Spens QC has a formidable reputation for securing acquittals against the odds, defending the most high-profile, sensitive and complex cases concerning business crime, health and safety, serious sexual offences, murder and terrorism. Formerly a Treasury Counsel, David has defended exclusively for the last 22 years. David has a successful track record in defending fraud and money-laundering, and has developed a niche practice defending individuals accused of bribery and corruption in the UK and overseas. He is instructed to defend â senior manager in R v Reynolds, the SFO's prosecution of Alstom Power for bribery in Lithuania (Operation Yuletide); in R v Forrester he secured notable acquittals for a sales manager accused by SFO of bribery in three African states. David is regularly instructed in cases which involve manslaughter by gross negligence in the context of health and safety legislation. ln the field of serious sexual offences, David has particular expertise in historical matters. He is currently instructed to represent a philanthropist accused of historical sexual abuse in London and the Caribbean. Since defending Learco Chindamo, the youth convicted of murdering headmaster Philip Lawrence, David has been instructed in many murder cases, most involving joint enterprise; he has special expertise in cross-examining pathologists and forensic psychiatrists.


Called 1973, Inner Temple; QC 1995. David acts exclusively for the defence and, as a former Treasury Counsel at the CCC (1988 – 1995), benefits from his experience prosecuting extremely serious and complex cases. He was also one of the first two Special Counsel appointed by the Attorney General after R v H to represent defendants’ interests in relation to disclosure. David is a past chairman of the Criminal Bar Association and also a former leader of the South Eastern Circuit. In 1994 he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court; he is authorised to sit at the CCC and to try serious sexual offences. He is a Bencher of the Inner Temple.


French, Italian.


Criminal Bar Association, Fraud Lawyers Association registered with Bar Council Access Directory; British Italian Lawyers Association.

London Bar

Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations)

Within: Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations) – Leading silks

David Spens QC - QEB Hollis WhitemanA real heavyweight silk with immense experience – his eye for detail is superb.

Within: Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations)

QEB Hollis Whiteman’s members have appeared defending or prosecuting in some of 2017’s most high-profile corporate crime cases. Various members have been involved in various trials as part of the SFO’s investigation into Alstom and its employees; Mark Ellison QC represented the former head of compliance in a trial concerning alleged corruption in the procurement of the Budapest Metro and David Spens QC acted for a sales manager in a case concerning a Lithuanian power station refurbishment.

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Crime (general crime)

Within: Crime (general crime) – Leading silks

David Spens QC - QEB Hollis WhitemanHis eye for detail is superb and he has a really great manner with clients.

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