Call: 1990


Queens’ College, Cambridge University in Modern History [B.A. 1982; M.A. 1986]
Common Professional Examination [1983]
Law Society Final Examination [1984]
Admitted Solicitor [1986]
Called to the Bar of the Middle Temple [1990]
CPS “Grade 4” prosecution panel advocate
Specialist Rape Panel Advocate.


John O’Higgins has 30 years of experience of practising criminal law at the highest level in London and the South-East.

He has appeared in numerous cases of homicide [including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, causing death by careless/dangerous driving], serious violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud.

He is recommended by both of the leading Legal Directories.


"An accomplished junior who has acted in a vast number of cases, including those concerning homicide, serious violence, sexual offences and fraud. He regularly acts for both the prosecution and the defence".

"Strengths: "Very calm, measured and experienced. He is a tough opponent."."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2021]

"A persuasive and forceful advocate who is very tactically astute and regularly achieves the very best results for clients".

"The ‘extremely intelligent and tactically astute‘ John O’Higgins is highly recommended for cases requiring a leading junior".

― Legal 500 [2021] Tier 1 Leading Juniors

"He is very intelligent and diligent. He is very much feared by his opponents.” “His preparation, skill with clients and court manner are all very impressive."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2020]

"A very strong advocate with an air of authority."

― Legal 500 [2020]

"Very intelligent, tactically astute and inspires confidence in his clients."

― Legal 500 [2019] Midland Circuit

"An accomplished junior who has acted in a vast number of cases, including those concerning homicide, serious violence, sexual offences and fraud."

Strengths: "A really canny operator and a first-rate advocate."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2018]

"A terrifyingly good advocate."

― Legal 500 [2018]

"He's an extremely confident and commanding advocate, capable of undertaking the most serious work. His written work is also excellent: prompt and succinct."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2017]

"An instinctive advocate and excellent cross-examiner"

"He fights doggedly for the lay client and is an expert in unlawful killing and serious violence"

― Legal 500 [2016]

"This senior junior both defends and prosecutes complex and high-profile cases such as gangland shootings and homicides."
Strengths: "He is an exceptional advocate who has a commanding courtroom presence. He is a fearless opponent who nevertheless possesses the soft skills to deal with the most vulnerable of clients. He quickly identifies the heart of a case but also finds points of law that elude others."
Recent work: Prosecuted in the high-profile Lee Birch murder trial."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2016]

"He is an intense advocate who certainly gets the jury's attention."

"He is an individual with acute intelligence, who is passionately committed to his clients and works incredibly hard for them."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2015]

"Very popular with juries, and persuasive in his advocacy."

― Legal 500 [2015]

Latest news

13th November 2018

John O’Higgins, Nina Ellin and Daniel Stevenson – successful prosecution of a targeted attack on travellers’ site in Kent

The case involved a masked gang, armed with machetes, knives, crow-bars and cable ties, who launched an attack on dwellings in a travellers’ site in Lenham, Kent in 2016.

11th September 2018

Acquittal in multi-million pound cocaine importation and supply case

Defendant accused of being the leading figure in an organised crime group has been acquitted on all charges.

6th March 2018

Acquittal in shooting case

Russell Broughton was accused of a punishment shooting which involved the shooting of a man in the legs with a sawn-off shotgun at point blank range.

25th April 2016

John O’Higgins appears for the defence in contract killing case

John O'Higgins, instructed by Reeds Solicitors, Oxford, represents Frank Warren who is accused of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder. Click here for news...

29th February 2016

Conviction in historic sex abuse case

A manager of a Scout campsite near Chatham has been convicted of the sexual abuse of 3 children which took place over 30 years...

5th October 2015

Man found guilty of ordering his wife to kill her family

In this case, a man who had amassed a large collection of firearms and with a history of domestic violence, has been convicted of...

25th June 2015

Acquittal in revenge murder case

Richard Barraclough QC and John O'Higgins, instructed by Lahiff & co, have secured an acquittal for the defendant in a revenge killing which involved the...

18th February 2015

John O’Higgins prosecutes mother accused of killing son by administering her prescribed morphine

John O'Higgins is prosecuting in a case where a mother is accused of killing her son by administering her prescribed morphine to him, whilst...

11th February 2015

John O’Higgins and Simon Taylor appear in Gillingham Football Club Rape Case

John O'Higgins prosecutes and Simon Taylor defends in the case of the former professional footballer, Nathan Nyafli, who is accused of raping a female...

12th December 2014

Unlawful act manslaughter count withdrawn from jury in Cling Film Case

Following legal submissions by the defence at the close of the Crown's case, the count of unlawful act manslaughter has been withdrawn from the...

2nd December 2014

John O’Higgins and Oliver Saxby QC defend in Clingfilm Death case

The trial of two men charged over the death of P & O chef Alun Williams commenced on Monday. Richard Bowler and his carer...

27th November 2014

John O’Higgins, leading Nina Ellin successfully prosecute in a fraud case where elderly victims were defrauded of over £250,000

John O'Higgins and Nina Ellin have successfully prosecuted 13 defendants in a fraud case where elderly victims were defrauded of over £250,000. The charges involved...

5th October 2014

The murder trial of Sarah Ripley (Oliver Saxby prosecuting and Richard Barraclough QC and John O’Higgins defending) commences

The trial of Sarah Ripley - a 21 year old girl charged with murdering her partner, James Heddington, began on Monday at Canterbury Crown Court. It...

21st July 2014

John O’Higgins opens the case for the prosecution in the case of Lee Birch accused of murdering his ex-wife

John O'Higgins has opened the case for the prosecution in the case of Lee Birch accused of murdering his ex-wife after flouting court orders banning him...