Justin Rouse KC


Justin Rouse KC is an experienced and committed criminal counsel specialising in defending and prosecuting those charged with homicide, white collar crime, serious sexual offences and armed robbery.

Justin has amassed substantial experience over a 40-year career both prosecuting and defending and as defence counsel is cited as a leading KC in Legal 500 and Chambers UK. He has advised Parliament on statutory drafting.

Although he is now principally instructed to defend in serious crime, he acquired his skills as a former RASSO certified and grade 4 level prosecutor instructed in serious sex offences, heavyweight crime and complex fraud. He prosecuted the largest trial in the country to be staged under COVID conditions whilst leading Katrina Charles of 9BR Chambers against 14 defence counsel, resulting in murder convictions. He is currently prosecuting an Encrochat murder trial.

His forces background gives him unbridled insight when defending in Courts Martial cases. He has represented forces personnel and police officers across the UK and in Germany on serious offences including rape and grievous bodily harm with an outstanding success rate. He is also privately briefed in cases involving field sports and animal welfare allegations.

In addition to appearing in the Crown Court, Justin can be instructed to appeal a decision to the Court of Appeal and can advise both orally and in writing upon the prospects for success.

He is authorised to receive instructions directly from the public in private cases.

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Notable cases

R v P & S, 2023

Prosecuting Encrochat assassination. Complex issues of telephone, ballistic, cellsite and vehicle evidence.

R v G, 2023

Defending teenager in knife murder allegation. Dealing with cut throat defences and arguing admissibility of hearsay and analysis of CCTV footage, thereby introducing a new suspect.

R v A, 2023

Private serious sex case, sensitive cross examination of vulnerable complainant about allegation of assault during lockdown.

R v Ap, 2023

Historic murder. Defending at CCC. Dealing with developments in DNA, resulting in the identification of the D as responsible for the death of a woman in the 1970’s. Acquitted of murder.

R v P, 2023

Defending murder: defending man accused of killing his abusive father in the street, during a family visit.

R v SM, 2022

Prosecuting: Prosecuted a homicide in a psychiatric unit requiring the coordination by counsel of the investigation to ensure that full medical, forensic and psychiatric evidence was collated and adduced in the strongest light. Defendant then changed plea to guilty. Justin was instructed by the CPS.

R v L and others 2021

Justin prosecuted against 14 defence counsel in a multi-handed murder. It involved DNA, identification, telephone cell site evidence and complex pathology issues. Woolwich Crown Court.

See article here

R v R and others, 2020-2021

Prosecuting: Led Katrina Charles in prosecuting the largest criminal trial staged under Covid conditions prosecuting a multi-defendant trial involving gang murder of teenager. Youngest defendant was 14 at time of offence. Convictions for murder, manslaughter and knife offences followed. Woolwich Crown Court. Justin was instructed by the CPS.

News report here

R v M, 2020

Defending: The defendant killed his brother following an argument over a will. He admitted the killing to police attending the scene and pleaded guilty. Although there was no psychiatric evidence to support the defendant, it was argued that the Court should accept that there were exceptional circumstances to the case. Resolution of the issues involved a Newton Hearing. The resulting sentence, although favourable, was then appealed. The Court of Appeal accepted the submissions made and the sentence was substantially reduced for the defendant. Justin was instructed by Nick Seeley of Lawtons Solicitors.

R v H, 2019

Defending: Defended a cutthroat murder trial involving two defendants charged with killing a drug dealer. Case required strong cross-examination of co-defendant, the prosecution witnesses and police. Issues of law on joint enterprise, bad character and disclosure. Birmingham Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Nayan Patel of JD Solicitors.

R v T, 2019

Defending: On his way home from a night out, it was alleged that the defendant (a man in middle age of good character) encountered the victim. There was an argument and the defendant went home, armed himself and then returned to the scene to kill the victim. The case involved substantial CCTV analysis, forensic evidence and particularly delicate client management. Birmingham Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Ravi Dev of JD Solicitors.

R v P, 2019

Defending: Led Simon Stirling in nationally reported murder of victim on a Guildford commuter train in front of his son. Psychiatric, diminished and manslaughter loss of control complications. Admissibility issues: data, previous character and vulnerable witness ABEs. Central Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Helen Snell of Murrays Partnership.

News report here

R v TC and others, 2019

Defending: Successfully defended a youth accused of the Clapham South station murder. The defendant, who admitted carrying a hunting knife to the scene before giving it to his co-defendant, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter. Central Criminal Court. Justin was instructed by Olukayode Okenla of Simon Bethel & Co Solicitors.

News report here

R v C, 2019

Defending: Defendant faced murder charge for stabbing his aunt. Found guilty of manslaughter through diminished responsibility. Blackfriars Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Nadia- Jade Semlali of Kaim Todner Solicitors.

News report here

R v H 2018

Defending: Defended gamekeeper accused of unlawfully killing peregrine falcons. Series of submissions relating to trespass, data protection, breaches of PACE codes, breach of RIPA requirements and unlawful search resulted in all charges being dismissed. Justin was instructed by Timothy Ryan of Warners Solicitors.

R v M and C, 2018

Defending: Defended 2 hunt employees facing criminal accusations made by hunt saboteurs. Submissions on entrapment, self defence, prevention of crime (s.3 CLA), data protection breaches, perverting the course of justice. Prosecution were compelled to make further disclosure resulting in their having to abandon the prosecution. Acquittal. Justin was instructed by Tim Ryan of Warners Solicitors.

R v RH, 2018

Defending: Historic rape case involving a teacher and a 5 year old boy. Abuse said to have continued for 5 years. Required very sensitive cross examination. Acquitted. Heard at Southwark Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Nick Seeley of Lawtons Solicitors.

R v TG, 2018

Defending: Defended a 14 year old boy charged with 4 co-defendants in a gang related murder. Cut throat defences run by all defendants. Issues of causation, telephone data analysis and expert evidence on image analysis. Heard at St. Albans Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Paul Millan of Noble Solicitors.

R v NS, 2018

Defending: Adult son stabbed mother to death during psychotic episode. Psychiatric and forensic expert evidence. Heard at Guildford Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Kate Lyon of Taylor Street Solicitors.

R v MZ, 2018

Defending: Defended an 18 year old charged with involvement in gang drugs related murder and violent disorder. Issues of forensic evidence, telephone material and joint enterprise. Acquitted of murder. Heard at the Central Criminal Court. Justin was instructed by Libi Adek of McMillan Williams Solicitors.

R v CM, 2018

Defending: VHCC fraud involving the Government apprenticeship scheme. Nationwide operation defrauding colleges and the government scheme across Britain. Southwark Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Abigail Ashford of Reeds Solicitors.

R v R, 2017

Defending: Charges of murder and manslaughter. Successful acquittal of husband who admitted killing his wife by cutting her throat during an argument. Cross-examination of 5 experts. Justin was instructed by Kate Lyon of Taylor Street Solicitors.

Press reports:

Daily Mail

The Sun


R v N, 2017

Prosecuting: Two men who shot and killed a teenager. Verdicts: both guilty of murder. Made the subject of Channel 4 documentary "Catching A Killer". Justin was instructed by the CPS.

News story here

R v B and others, 2017

Defending: Allegations of conspiracy to defraud the public – by high-profile limousine company, whose clients include X-Factor stars, royal family and international celebrities. Acting for principal shareholder. Heard at Chester Crown Court. Justin was instructed by Lachlan Nisbet of Brabners Solicitors.

Appeal of Popovs, 2016

Prosecuting: Instructed to represent the Crown in the Court of Appeal on a murder trial involving the killing of a son in front of his mother. Issues of fresh evidence, errors in the Summing Up and conduct of counsel. All grounds and sentence appeal successfully opposed. Justin was instructed by the CPS.

Read more Notable cases

Additional specialisms

  • Specialist in firearms law and the defence of young persons.
  • Experienced in Appellate work, he is tenacious, with good analytical skills and is always alert to unseen avenues of argument. Good client manner.
  • Substantial experience of defending in murder cases both at the Old Bailey and elsewhere


Sits in the Crown Court as a Recorder. Licenced to try appeals and serious sexual offences.


Some French and Spanish


Recognised in Leading 500 and Chambers as a leading KC

Professional Commentary and Attribution

"Justin is a great advocate and strategist." (Chambers UK, 2024)
"A great jury advocate with a nice manner, who instils confidence. He's an incredibly experienced orator." (Chambers UK, 2023)
"Justin is a class act who inspires confidence in his clients (lay and professional), jury and judge." (Legal 500, 2023)
"A fine advocate and a very experienced lawyer who has an excellent manner with clients, especially when they are in a distressed state. He goes the extra mile, and gives very speedy responses to any queries raised."(Chambers UK, 2021)
"A gifted silk who commands respect, with compelling, persuasive and powerful oratory. His advice is without exception carefully considered and to the point, he has the unnerving ability to cut through to the kernel of the case. He is a delight to work with." (Legal 500, 2021)
"In court, the kind of advocate that makes you want to sit up and pay attention." (Legal 500, 2020)
"He is clearly quite formidable in terms of his passion for defending a case, but equally he has that remarkable common touch so that he gets clients straight away and clients get him." (Chambers UK, 2020)
"Always very good with the lay clients, he can pick up cases at lightning speed." (Legal 500 - 2018)
'A "fearless advocate”, identified him as an outstanding individual in his field and pronounced him as a UK’s leading barrister 2014, 2015, 2016. Listed QC in 2017' (Legal 500, 2017)


Travel, wines, diving, motorbiking and reading.

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PROFILE: Justin Rouse KC

Legal 500, 2024 Chambers UK, 2024

Year called






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Confiscation / POCA

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Corporate Offences

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Financial Crime

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Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

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Serious Crime

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Sexual offences

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Youth Crime


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Inquests / public inquiries

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Regulatory / Disciplinary

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Financial and Corporate law

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VAT Tribunals


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Road Traffic

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Road traffic

Direct access



020 7489 2727


Inns of Court School of Law (Bar finals)

BA(Hons) in Law, London

Winner of the Lord Denning Mansfield Cup for mooting

Ryde School


CBA South Eastern Circuit NRA Bar Yacht Club Amersham and Chiltern RFU

Criminal Bar Association



2012: Tutor to Lincoln’s Inn Advocacy course.

2004: Recorder (Sexual Offences ticketed 2006, Appeals ticketed 2006).


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