Joel Bennathan QC > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers
Doughty Street Chambers

Work Department


Joel Bennathan QC has an established defence practice in serious and complex crime. In the last year he has successfully acted in high value fraud and confiscation cases, recently having a solicitor’s conviction for money laundering overturned in the Privy Council. He also practises in other heavy crime, having defended in many of the major terrorist trials of recent years, as well as in cases of murder and the largest ever armed robbery.

A significant part of his work consists of appeals to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the Privy Council, and the European Court of Human Rights, including a large number of referrals by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. In recent years Joel has had convictions for murder and terrorist offences overturned in the Court of Appeal, won a landmark decision in the House of Lords, and argued a number of cases in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. He also acted in a Privy Council appeal in a murder case from Bermuda addressing the use of police officers as expert witnesses.

Chambers and Partners wrote: Joel Bennathan QC is the counsel of choice for many solicitors due to his “calm authority and approachability.” So impressed was one source that he called Bennathan “the most intelligent man I have ever met.”

The Legal 500 [2019] placed Joel as a band 1 QC commenting ‘Excellent, especially at appeals work and cases involving legal submissions’ making him the only QC in the top band named for both trial and appellate work.  He was shortlisted as “Crime Silk of the Year” at the 2019 Legal 500 Awards.

Chambers and Partners [2016] directory ranked him as a band 1 QC and wrote: “He is a class act. He is a persuasive and forceful advocate and his submissions are always powerful.” “He is very conscientious, very intelligent, absolutely brilliant with juries, and solicitors can always get advice from him very swiftly.” In 2019 Chambers and Partner placed Joel in their highest, “Star Individual”, category.

Outside the criminal field, Joel has considerable experience in litigating the effects of crime in the civil courts, having acted for numerous claimants in actions against the police and in a successful High Court action suing for murder. He acted for a torture victim who won damages from the United Kingdom for its alleged complicity in his illegal detention and torture abroad and, in 2018, for 3 men who settled a case against the CPS, winning substantial damages, for misfeasance in a public office based on failures to disclose material before their trials. Joel also acted for two companies in their successful appeal against an HMRC finding of criminal conduct, in a case listed before the First Tier Tribunal [Tax Chamber]. He also acted in a case before the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, seeking to extend the anonymity granted to juveniles beyond their 18th birthdays and in the leading Court of Appeal case on trials held in secret. He is Counsel of choice for a number of solicitors and other professionals facing disciplinary action by their professional bodies, after his success in having a senior lawyer at News International cleared of all charges after a prolonged series of hearings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.




Amnesty International

Bar Human Rights Committee


Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association

Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Joel Bennathan QCDoughty Street ChambersAffably authoritative. Excellent on the law and both his written work and advocacy are first class. He focuses on the real issues in the case, fights his client’s corner, and has a great jury manner: jurors and others in the courtroom can’t help but like him. Truly a leading counsel.