The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Chambers of Mark Ellison QC

Work 020 7933 8855
Fax 020 7929 3732

Zoe Johnson QC

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


Zoe Johnson defends and prosecutes the most serious and high profile crime. Her eleven years as treasury counsel (the second woman ever to have been appointed senior treasury counsel) gave her vast experience in cases of homicide, terrorism and organised crime. For example she was instructed in the first ever case of terrorist fund raising [R v Oumerzouk] and advised in the case of Gary McKinnon, accused of hacking into NASA and the US department of defence. She has acted in a number of "honour killings" and hate crimes. She has a lot of experience of cases of misconduct in public office and has advised in relation to the prosecution of News lnternational. She has particular expertise in cases with medico-legal features. After appearing in 2005 in R v Harris and Others she is adept in allegations of "shaken baby syndrome" and has appeared in many such cases [most recently R v Tautz]. Zoe is accomplished in presenting and dissecting psychiatric evidence and has been involved in a large number of contested diminished responsibility, insanity and fitness to plead cases. She is instructed in cases of extreme sensitivity, often involving the death of children [e.g R v Tania Clarence, a mother who suffocated her three disabled children and R v Dixie, the murder of Sally Ann Bowman]. She has a special interest in medical gross negligence manslaughter cases and recently secured the acquittal, at the close of the Crown's case, of Dr Rudling, a GP accused of failing to recognise a life threatening illness. Zoe successfully defended in the first ever prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation legislation [R v Dharmasenal and as a result has been asked to advise several clients (individuals and religious groups) prior to a possible charge of FGM. For many years Zoe has defended and prosecuted in all areas of business crime such as bribery and corruption, insider dealing and accountancy fraud [R v Beard and others]. Her experience includes advising companies on sanctions, advising on the construction of legislation for the FCA and advising the SFO on various investigations [e.g the investigation into Hewlett Packard's takeover of Autonomy]. Zoe was instructed as leading counsel in the second ever Defended Prosecution Agreement [R v XYZ] which set the bench mark for such agreements and was approved by the Court in June 2016. Zoe has appeared regularly over the years in various tribunals, in particular the GMC, GDC and HCPC. Earlier this year she successfully defended a registrar obstetrician accused of mismanagement of a twin delivery leading to death and dishonesty [GMC v Dr Mohan]. She recently successfully defended a doctor accused of multiple sexual assaults. Zoe is instructed in the first proceedings ever brought by the British Psychological Society.


Recorder 2009, Senior Treasury Counsel 2011, Queen's Counsel 2012


Criminal Bar Association, Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers, Public Access Bar Association

London Bar

Crime (general crime)

Within: Crime (general crime) – Leading silks

Zoe Johnson QC - QEB Hollis WhitemanShe has a firm, clear advocacy style which comes over extremely effectively with juries without overawing them.

[back to top]

Professional discipline and regulatory law

Within: Professional discipline and regulatory law – Leading silks

Zoe Johnson QC - QEB Hollis WhitemanFriendly, charming and supportive, she has gravitas without being overbearing.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to