Edward Burgess QC

Image of Edward Burgess QC
BA Oxon, MA Bristol, CPE (Dist.)
Year of call and Inn: 
1993; Inner Temple
Professional Membership: 
Western Circuit
QC 2017; Recorder 2005 (Crown Court)
Practice Overview: 

Ed Burgess QC is a criminal law specialist who prosecutes and defends cases of the utmost gravity and complexity. He undertakes legally aided and privately funded work.

He is widely praised for his natural abilities as a jury advocate, and also for the brave and forceful nature of his approach in Court.

As a senior junior Ed's practice spanned the full range of criminal offending at the most serious end of the spectrum, including murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, and conspiracy to supply drugs.

Both as a junior and now in Silk, Ed has a particular specialism in dealing with rape and other serious sexual offences, including the most difficult of historic matters, often involving multiple complainants and/or defendants, with the associated complexities to which such matters invariably give rise (e.g. bad character, cross-admissibility, and the correct use of applicable legislation).

In recognition of his expertise in this area, Ed is frequently instructed on a private basis as Counsel of first choice to defend such cases.

Ed is an excellent communicator, adept at working co-operatively within a team, but also at providing effective leadership. He is particularly skilled at communicating with vulnerable people, drawing on his pre-law background in community mental health work for the purpose. Consequently, he is often instructed to represent those with mental health issues (including cases where fitness to plead is in issue), special needs, and learning difficulties. As a prosecutor, he is able to communicate sensitively and effectively with vulnerable witnesses of every kind.

Ed is also regularly instructed to act for Police Officers in disciplinary matters, often in cases involving allegations of sexual impropriety whilst on duty and/or within particular relationships. He represents Police Officers in criminal matters, too, and has successfully defended a number of Officers charged with rape, sexual assault and misconduct in public office.


Ed has been named as a leading silk in crime on the Western Circuit The Legal 500, prior to this he was a leading junior in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 for over ten years.

"Has a sterling reputation for handling grave and complex criminal cases. He is a member of the CPS specialist rape panel and is frequently instructed as a prosecutor in addition to his defence work."
Chambers and Partners 2019

"Very experienced in prosecuting and defending in serious sexual offences cases."
Legal 500 2019

"Recommended as a leading silk."
Chambers and Partners 2018

"Well known for defending police officers in criminal matters"
Legal 500 2017

"A widely respected junior with a sterling reputation for handling grave and complex criminal cases. Regarded as one of the leading juniors in Bristol, he's definitely up there with the best. Unflustered with a very good command of detail."
Chambers and Partners 2017

"An experienced criminal advocate, who has appeared in sexual offences, murder and fraud cases".
Legal 500 2016

"He is a first class advocate who is an expert in historic sex offences." "He is a silky smooth advocate. Every judge in Bristol respects him and all solicitors would single him out as terifically able."
“He is regularly instructed by the CPS and sits on its specialist rape panel. He also defends high-profile cases and is noted by solicitors for his deft handling of vulnerable clients.”
Chambers and Partners 2016

“He is experienced in dealing with cases involving multiple complainants and defendants.”
Legal 500 2015

“He would rate amongst the top barristers in the region. He is a very measured, very well-prepared, and very reassuring advocate.”
Chambers and Partners 2015

“Prosecutes and defends in cases of the utmost seriousness and complexity.”
Legal 500 2014

“He is a very good advocate, very slick in court.”
Chambers and Partners 2014

“relaxed, yet effective manner”
Legal 500 2013

“a forceful, brave advocate”
Chambers and Partners 2013

“great client manner and fine eye for detail”
“forceful and considered advocate in court”
Chambers and Partners 2012

“exceptionally fine advocacy skills.”
Chambers and Partners 2011

Areas of Practice