David Young

Called 1986



Having practised in the UK for over 20 years, as a Specialist Criminal law Defence Barrister, David is now based in the Hague, and travels widely in Europe and the Middle East in particular. He is a highly experienced trial lawyer, noted for his courtroom skills, and for his professional representation of persons involved in high profile, complex criminal litigation. He is the only English Barrister to have been instructed as Lead Counsel for the Defence in the Hariri assassination case at The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is currently in trial in the Hague. He was called to the English Bar in the Middle Temple Inn of Court in 1986. He has been named as a Leader in International Criminal Law in the Legal Directory Chambers and Partners 2015. Chambers UK 2015 Commentary: David Young ‘Has impressive experience of international criminal litigation, particularly in cases relating to the Middle East and Africa. He has particular expertise in cases involving terrorism.

International Criminal Practice

Advocacy and Advisory services

David can offer clients’ strong representation before courts, tribunals or regulatory bodies both internationally and domestically. He is able to receive instructions from private individuals, corporate entities, foreign lawyers, NGO’s, and States. Some examples of his advocacy work are set out below. In addition, he receives instructions to advise clients in international situations. Discretion and professionalism is guaranteed.

The Office of the Prosecutor v. Ayyash and others, The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Since 2010 he has been significantly involved in the Special Tribunal for the Lebanon, based in the Hague. In 2010 he was instructed as a Legal Consultant to the Defence Office of the STL, and took part in a delegation to Lebanon. In October 2011 he was appointed Lead Duty Counsel for Assad Hassan Sabra, who is one of five persons who have been accused of involvement in the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. The accused are alleged to be supporters of Hezbollah. The assassination was said to have occurred by the means of an explosion, detonated by two to three metric tonnes of a TNT type explosive substance. His accused faces charges relating to a Conspiracy to commit a Terrorist Act, the pre-meditated intentional homicide of 22 persons, and the Attempted homicide of some 231 persons. On the 2nd February 2012 he was appointed as Assigned Lead Counsel to represent Assad Hassan Sabra, following the Trial Chamber’s decision to commence in absentia trial proceedings. David now leads a multi-lingual defence team of highly respected international criminal lawyers, with New York and Swiss qualified Co-Counsel, and other team members coming from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, China, Lebanon and England/Yemen. In the course of the proceedings to date, the Defence have challenged both the legality of the Tribunal, and the decision to hold an In Absentia trial, and have secured, for the first time, orders from the Trial Chamber requiring the Lebanese Government to co-operate with the Defence. The proceedings are unique in the development of international criminal law and are being widely followed by the world’s media. Commentators have described the court as the first ever International Tribunal to preside over an International Terrorism case. The trial commenced on the 16th January 2014. The court works in 3 languages, being Arabic, French and English.

Since October 2014 the Prosecution have been calling a number of political witnesses in relation to the alleged political background to the events which led to the assassination. David has cross-examined a significant number of these witnesses including, on 25th March 2015, the former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.


Other International Criminal work

David is also currently advising on the case of Prosecutor v. Ali Adorus in relation to other International terrorism proceedings, which concern events in Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen and Somalia. This has resulted in communications and petitions to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the UN Rapporteur on Torture. [David is instructed with Toby Cadman and Eeva Heikkila, also of 9 Bedford Row].


International Sports Law

David is currently acting in a groundbreaking UK case concerning international boxing where he has been leading a team of lawyers which is challenging the current UK Regulator, the British Boxing Board of Control, on EU and anti-Competition law arguments. It concerns a German boxing Association who have organised promotions in England, following the Luxembourg example of David Haye v. Chisora. He is also consulted in relation to international mixed martial arts promotions. In relation to Football, he has acted as a Registered Lawyer with the English Football association, and advised international footballers intent on playing in the UK.


International Financial Crime

David has substantial experience advising on, and defending in, cases which have involved international financial transactions, from the early stages of SFO financial fraud investigations to lengthy trial proceedings concerning over two hundred million pound money laundering cases at Southwark Crown Court. He has significant experience of cases involving EU related frauds, complex transfers of funds offshore, and cases which particularly concern Hong Kong, Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands, and the Isle of Man, and Dubai.


Some Notable UK International Cases

International Terrorism

  • R v Safi & others: Acted for one of the Afghan Hijackers, Abdul Ghayur, in both Old Bailey trials. Junior Counsel acting alone in the second trial. [instructed between 2000-2002]The case involved the armed hijacking of an airplane, which was diverted from Afghanistan to England via Russia, and the longest ever hostage siege at an airport, namely Stansted. The client relied upon the defence of Duress of circumstance. He and a number of the other accused were members of an underground group in Afghanistan, called ‘The Young Intellectuals of Afghanistan’, who were a pro-democracy group at a time of Taliban rule. Their case was that they were fleeing from the Taliban. Two three month trials [the first presided over by Mr Justice Butterfield, and the re-trial, following a hung jury by Sir Edwin Jowitt]. The case was prosecuted by Bruce Houlder QC, leading Aftab Jafferjee QC, Senior Treasury Counsel. The Client was successfully acquitted on appeal in the Court of Appeal, following an argument that the jury were misdirected on the law of duress of circumstance. The Safi decision was a guideline authority on the law of duress/necessity.
  • R v Kamel Bourgass & others: Defended Sidali Feddag in the 2005 Ricin poison trial (a 9 month trial at the Old Bailey). Instructed between 2003 to 2005. Client alleged to have been part of a Conspiracy to murder as part of an Algerian terrorist cell. The client’s premises were alleged to have been used for the preparation and production of the deadly Ricin poisin. The case was alleged to be the first in the UK’s ‘war on terror’, because the principal defendant, one Kamel Bourgass, said to be a member of Al Qaida, murdered DC Steven Oakes, an English detective . Acted as led Junior. Client successfully acquitted at trial. The trial was presided over by Mr. Justice Penry-Davey, and prosecuted by Nigel Sweeney QC, First Senior Treasury Counsel [now Mr. Justice Sweeney], leading Mark Dennis QC, formerly Senior Treasury Counsel, leading Max Hill QC.
  • R. v Aabid Khan: Acted for principal defendant in 3 month trial. At trial the Client was accused of organising and maintaining an Al Qaida website, of seeking to recruit terrorists for both Pakistan terror training camps, and for suicide missions. The defendant was originally linked to a 16 strong alleged Al Qaida group operating in Canada and the USA, who were initially accused of plotting to assassinate the Canadian Prime Minister. Aabid Khan was said to possess the largest electronic collection of terrorist materials ever found by the UK’s anti-terrorist squad. Blackfriars CC 2008.[instructed between 2007 to 2008]. The trial was presided over by HHJ Pontius and Prosecuted by Simon Denison QC, leading Annabel Darlow QC. Convicted.
  • R v. L & S: Defended Goldan Lambert in the first prosecution of Tamil Tiger related terrorism in the UK, the LTTE being a proscribed organisation in certain countries at the time. Case is also the first prosecution under s.12 Terrorism Act 2000.Kingston CC 2009. [instructed 2008 to 2009]. The defence made a successful interlocutory appeal [against a decision by Mr Justice Saunders] to the Court of Appeal pre- trial, and the Lambert decision is now a guideline CA judgement on the timing of AG’s consents to prosecute. The Defence argued that the Prosecution had failed to secure the necessary consent. Lord Justice Thomas presided over the appeal. David was Junior Counsel acting alone. Case was prosecuted by Jonathan Laidlaw QC, First Senior Treasury Counsel. Defendant was acquitted, at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, following the ruling of the Court of Appeal.
  • Secretary of State v. Janus Khan: Instructed for JK in a SIAC case against the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Client was one of a number of young Pakistani nationals arrested, in Manchester and Liverpool, in Operation Pathway under the Terrorism Act 2000. Proceedings against JK on grounds of national security were discharged, and he was released from custody in 2009.


  • Iqtidar Dara v. Germany: Acted as Junior Counsel in the High Court extradition appeal of an appellant wanted under a European Arrest Warrant for exporting the component parts of a nuclear weapon to Pakistan, 2009;


He is an approved Counsel for the following courts:

  • The International Criminal Court
  • The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
  • The Special Tribunal for the Lebanon


Associated Legal Work

  • 2001- Speaker at ‘L’Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature’, Paris;
  • 2002- Speaker at The Bar Conference on ‘European Criminal Law’;
  • 2003-2007  Member Bar European Group Committee ;
  • 2005- Member of the United Kingdom’s Team of Barristers at The International Moot Court in The Hague;
  • 2006- Member of the Criminal Bar Association’s Working Party which drafted the CBA response to The Home Office’s Draft Code of Practice for the Terrorism Act. The Code relates to the detention, treatment and questioning of persons arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.
  • 2006 – One of the organiser’s of; ‘ The State’s Reaction to Terrorism; A Tripartite Comparison’, which was jointly organised as between the German and French Embassies, DAAD, UCL, Kings College London, and L’Institut Francais.
  • 2007- Organised the CBA  Conference on the International Criminal Court.
  • 2008-2010 – Appointed to the Bar Council’s ‘International Committee’, as a representative for the Criminal Bar Association of England & Wales;
  • 2009- Gave the Winter Lecture to the Criminal Bar Association at the Old Bailey, ‘Abuse of Process- An exceptional jurisdiction?’;
  • 2010- Speaker at the Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers Conference on International Criminal Law;
  • 2010- Speaker at the Beirut Bar Association, Beirut, on behalf of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Defence Office;
  • 2012- Pannelist at a Chatham House Conference, ‘Revolution in the air’ on the Arab Spring, organised by 9BRI;
  • 2013- Speaker in Berlin at The Annual Conference of the International Criminal Defence Lawyers of Germany[ 26th January 2013];
  • 2013 Speaker in London at a Criminal Bar Association Seminar, along with Maitre Francois Roux [Head of the STL Defence Office], and Joeri Maas[ STL Defence Office Chef de Cabinet] ‘Special Tribunal for Lebanon- Challenges for the Defence’[ 1st October 2013];
  • 2014- October 2014. Publication of the 4th edition of Young, Summers and Corker on Abuse of Process in criminal proceedings, Bloomsbury Professional Publishers. The co-authors are Mark Summers QC of Matrix Chambers, and David Corker, of Corker Binning Solicitors London;
  • 2014- 8 December 2014 at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, gave the Winter Lecture to The South Eastern Circuit, ‘An Update on Abuse of Process in criminal proceedings’, before Max Hill QC, Leader of the South Eastern Circuit.
  • 2015- January- Moderator at the Second Meeting of the Defence Offices for the International Courts at the Peace Palace, The Hague;
  • 2015- February 10th Lecturing with Emile Aoun at Universite de Paris 2, Pantheon-Assas, on the practice of ICL, before the ICL masters students of Professor Olivier de Frouville, Professor of International Law at Paris 2;



  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Bar European Group
  • European Circuit
  • Association des jurists Franco-Brittanique
  • Member of Chatham House



  • The Bar European Committee (2003-2007)
  • Criminal Bar Association Committee (2007-2010)
  • Member of the Bar Council’s International Committee (2008- 2010)
  • Consultant to the Defence Office for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Hague, Holland (2010)
  • International Criminal Court list of Defence Counsel, The Hague;
  • Special Tribunal for Lebanon List of Defence Counsel, The Hague;



Author of “Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings”, Bloomsbury Professional, 4th edition published in October 2014. Foreword to the 3rd edition written by Professor David Ormerod, Law Commissioner.
Various op-ed articles

  • ‘National Politics must not undermine International Law’, Huffington Post, 3 June 2014;
  • ‘The ICC is in danger of losing its way. A new charge –crimes against democracy-would revitalise it’;
  • ‘ICC trial may help unite Ukraine, but move it away from West’, The Hill, USA, 6 June 2014;



Fluent in English and French. David is learning Arabic.



David is Scottish by birth, and lived in Dundee and Glasgow, before moving to London, where he attended secondary education [A De La Salle College in London] and then University. He has a LLM from London University which specialised in International Human Rights Law [under Professor Rosalyn Higgins at the LSE] and European Institutional law with Professor Usher at UCL.
He is married, with four sons.


Contact details

Personal contact details
Email: david.young@9bedfordrow.co.uk
G Mail address: DYoung.9BRI@gmail.com
Skype: David-9bedford.row

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Email: young@stl-tsl.org

London Chambers contact details
Chambers of Anthony Berry QC
9 Bedford Row
London WC1R 4AZ
Tel: 00 44 207 489 2727
Fax: 00 44 207 489 2828

  • Members CV
  • 9BRi Lobbying Forum
  • Expertise
  • Events & Calendar