Zoe Johnson QC > Chambers of Mark Ellison QC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Mark Ellison QC
QEB Hollis Whiteman
Zoe Johnson photo


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

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2

Zoe Johnson QCQEB Hollis WhitemanTruly superb on any case with medical issues involved.

QEB Hollis Whiteman has a track record of prosecution work, including some of the most serious cases, but also handles a diverse range of defence instructions. Philip Stott prosecuted thrice-bankrupt hereditary peer Rhodri Philipps, who received a 12-week sentence for sending menacing racist messages to anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, one of which purporting to offer a £5,000 bounty for ramming her with a vehicle. Turning to defence work, Stott and Zoe Johnson QC also represented a GP who was accused of the gross negligence manslaughter of a patient who died of a rare adrenal gland disorder – the case was dismissed on no case to answer after the prosecution’s case was heard. In a more unusual matter, Johnson QC represented the Crown Prosecution Service to defeat an attempt by two men convicted of the murders of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in 2005 to discharge the order which anonymised a witness for the first time in an English criminal trial. Defence work in sex offences is one area where the set is particularly strong; Eleanor Laws QC and Polly Dyer defended a doctor who was acquitted on 11 counts of sexual assault on ten male patients.

London Bar > Professional disciplinary and regulatory law

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 3

Zoe Johnson QCQEB Hollis WhitemanShe possesses a rare ability to truly connect with clients.