Karl Laird


Year of Call



Karl became a Member of Chambers in October 2019 following the successful completion of his pupillage.

Karl first studied law at Queen Mary, University of London, graduating at the top of his year, before completing the BCL at Mansfield College, Oxford, where he obtained a Distinction and was awarded the Law Faculty Prize for Comparative Public Law. Upon completing the BCL, Karl began his legal career as an academic at Oxford and for five years he was a Stipendiary Lecturer and Fixed-term Fellow at various colleges. During this time Karl also taught at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and at the LSE. He continues to hold a part-time academic position as a Stipendiary Lecturer and Tutor in Law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Karl is the author of numerous articles and is the co-author (with Professor David Ormerod KC) of Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law. He also writes monthly case notes for the Criminal Law Review.

Karl has particular expertise in financial crime and is responsible for the chapter in Blackstone’s Criminal Practice which deals with bribery and corruption. In addition, he is a contributor to Montgomery and Ormerod: Fraud Law and Practice and writes regular case notes for Lloyd’s Law Reports: Financial Crime. Amongst various other topics, Karl has written extensively on deferred prosecution agreements. In an article which is forthcoming in the Criminal Law Review, he analyses the most recent deferred prosecution agreement judgments.

In addition to criminal law, Karl taught public law at Oxford and other universities for a number of years. He is an expert on this subject and has written articles which examine various public law issues, the most recent of which is due to be published in Public Law. He also teaches a course on statutory interpretation at the University of Cambridge.

Prior to commencing pupillage, and in conjunction with his academic work, Karl was a Team Lawyer at the Law Commission of England and Wales, where he worked on a project on firearms law (which led to the enactment of provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2017) and also on a review of official secrets legislation. He lectures regularly to the legal profession and has delivered lectures to the Judicial College, the CPS, the Whitehall Prosecutors’ Group and the Hong Kong Department of Justice (among others).
Karl was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 2018, having been awarded a Lord Mansfield Scholarship and a Hardwicke Entrance Award.

Karl is a Special Adviser to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall KC.


CPS Advocate Panel (Level 1).

SFO Panel of Counsel (C List).

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