David Hardstaff

“He is the most reassuring solicitor I have encountered – he doesn’t sway from the realities and difficulties of a case and is exceptionally perceptive in how matters will play out.

Chambers UK

David is a partner in BCL’s serious and general crime department, specialising in criminal litigation, professional discipline and regulatory law, and controlled drug licensing. He has particular experience representing individuals accused of sexual offences, drugs offences, and offences involving violence. He is an experienced police station representative and advocate, representing clients in a broad range of proceedings at the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court, and Court of Appeal.

David regularly acts for professionals and high-profile individuals, and has a reassuring appreciation of the pressures and strains that clients face when subject to investigation. He also advises witnesses, corporates, and broadcasters involved in criminal proceedings in relation to reputation management and public relations.

In addition to his criminal practice, David advises companies and institutions in relation to applications to the Home Office for controlled drug licences, particularly in the context of research into cannabis and psychedelics. He has advised companies entering cannabis markets on due diligence, criminal liability, and proceeds of crime considerations.

Serious and general crime

  • Representing individuals during interviews under caution
  • Advising and assisting individuals under investigation by the police
  • Preparing representations to police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service
  • Representing individuals facing trial or sentence at the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts
  • Advising victims of crime and witnesses, including individuals and corporates
  • Crisis and reputation management arising from criminal allegations

Professional discipline and regulatory law

  • Advising medical, legal, and financial professionals facing disciplinary proceedings
  • Preparing representations to regulators arguing against prosecution
  • Representing regulated professionals in fitness to practise tribunals

Cannabis law

  • Assisting corporates and institutions in applying for controlled drug licences
  • Advising on criminal liability under the Misuse of Drugs Act and Regulations
  • Due diligence and advice in initial public offerings (IPOs)
  • Proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering


  • Contributor and consultant editor of The Law and Regulation of Medicines and Medical Devices (Oxford University Press, 2nd Ed. 2021)
  • Regular contributor to Open Access Government and Cannabis Wealth
  • Quoted in the Law Society Gazette and The Times

Professional Memberships

  • London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association
  • Fraud Lawyers Association
  • London Irish Lawyers Association (Co-chair, 2021-present)
  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • European Criminal Bar Association


David graduated from the University of Dundee (LLB (Hons)) before continuing his studies in London. Prior to entering private practice, David undertook an internship at the California Appellate Project, where he assisted in the representation of defendants sentenced to death in the San Francisco Bay Area. He later trained and qualified at a busy national firm, specialising in serious criminal litigation. He joined BCL in 2015 and became a partner in 2022.

What the directories have said:

“He is very well regarded in the industry. He is really easy to get on with for clients and is really personable. A client of ours said he was a very pleasant and organised solicitor to deal with.

Chambers UK, 2023

“He is an up-and-coming star. He is really bright, imaginative and hardworking.

Chambers UK, 2023

“David is very clever, strategic and charming and he works exceptionally hard; he is brilliant.

Chambers UK, 2023

“He is truly excellent for regulatory work.

Chambers UK, 2023

“He is a calm voice of reason in a deeply stressful situation. He is clearly gifted in technical and strategic matters and is highly recommended. His client service and the level of sophistication of his work are very strong.

Chambers UK, 2023

David was a calm voice of reason in a deeply stressful situation and he is clearly gifted in technical and strategic matters. I highly recommend him.

Chambers UK, 2023

He is brilliant, very clever and strategic.

Chambers UK, 2023

He is really bright, imaginative and hard-working. An up-and-coming star.

Chambers UK, 2023

“David Hardstaff – the senior associate to watch – a classic ‘rising star’ – I have spent much of the last two years working with David and can vouch for his quite exceptional good judgement – his ability to engage with, respond to, and give a perfect opinion about.

Legal 500, 2023

David Hardstaff was a brilliant point of contact and supportive advocate throughout a challenging and disruptive period.

Legal 500, 2023

“David Hardstaff is an excellent all-round lawyer, and particularly knowledgeable”

Chambers Insights, 2022

“David Hardstaff is one to recommend. He is hugely knowledgeable and respected in the area, and he has helped us along the way with our compliance journey to make sure we are on the right side. He is very personable, practical and responsive, as well as cost-effective.”

Chambers Insights, 2022

“David Hardstaff is really hard-working and brilliant at actively seeking out original lines of defence.”

The Legal 500, 2021

“David Hardstaff is very bright; his overall client care is first-class and he is able to instil confidence and calmness in even the most nervous client”

The Legal 500, 2021

“He is the most reassuring solicitor I have encountered – he doesn’t sway from the realities and difficulties of a case and is exceptionally perceptive in how matters will play out.”

Chambers UK, 2021

“David Hardstaff is excellent. His success rate in cases has caused solicitors and barristers alike to take note. A rising star”

The Legal 500, 2020

Articles by David Hardstaff