Rishi Nathwani

Rishi Nathwani SC

  • Admitted: 2018
  • Bar: 2018
  • Silk: 2023


Gorman Chambers
Room 913, Level 9
460 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000


Rishi is an experienced barrister from London who practised at the Bar of England & Wales for over 11 years (2006 – 2017).

He is ranked in the current 2021 Doyles Guide as Recommended Junior Counsel in Australia and as a Leading Junior in Victoria. He has also been ranked as a leading Criminal Junior in London in “Chambers & Partners: the UK Bar”  (2014-2020), as well as in the “Legal 500”(2016-2019). His busy practice has involved serious criminal offending, regulatory offences & proceeds of crime/confiscation. 

In the UK, Rishi was routinely instructed in the most serious cases, involving homicides, terrorism, serious violence (GBH, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries), serious sexual offences (historic rape, rape of a child) and substantial frauds and money laundering. Rishi has acted as Junior led by Queen’s Counsel, as Leading Junior and as Junior Alone. He also appeared in the Court of Appeal.

Rishi is a trial barrister, who particularly enjoys the tactics involved in the trial process. He is often instructed in cases involving complex evidential matters such as DNA identification.

Rishi also appears in the appellate jurisdiction. 

Rishi is particularly known for his client care and has considerable experience in acting for vulnerable defendants. He is accredited by the Bar Standards Board to teach others (including Queen’s Counsel) how to cross-examine vulnerable witnesses with intermediaries within UK national guidelines.

Since coming to Australia, Rishi  worked at the Coroners’ Court and has a working knowledge of the Coronial Process and has been instructed in a number of Coronial Inquests (including as Counsel Assisting). 

Rishi is enjoying the challenge of developing a similar practice in Victoria.

To date, Rishi has been instructed for trial in matters including murder, manslaughter, culpable driving causing death, armed robbery (firearms), causing serious injury (shooting), incest, historic child sexual abuse of children and drugs importations (Commonwealth). He has also assisted the Department of Justice in introducing and training intermediaries to the Criminal Justice System. Rishi has also been instructed in the appellate jurisdiction. 

Rishi was also counsel instructed to represent “Lawyer X” (Nicola Gobbo) before the Royal Commission into Police Informers. He continues to act for Ms Gobbo.

Rishi is on the Victoria Legal Aid Preferred Trial Counsel List and holds an Indictable Crimes Certificate (ICC) from the Victorian Bar.

Rishi has been appointed as a senior barrister by VLA, entitled to lead Talented Junior  Counsel as part of the development programme.

What the Directories Say:

“Intellectually razor sharp” – Legal 500: UK Bar, 2016

‘A first-class junior, who is very tactically astute, hardworking and effective.’ – Legal 500: UK Bar, 2017

‘A go-to barrister in high demand from many top-calibre solicitors.’ – Legal 500: UK Bar, 2018

Has an excellent knowledge of the law and when he’s on his feet he is an iron fist in a velvet glove.” – Chambers and Partners, The UK Bar, 2020

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


  • Victorian Bar Association
  • Criminal Bar Association (Vic)
  • Bar of England and Wales
  • Criminal Bar Association (England)


  • Doyles Guide 2020 – Recommended Junior Counsel
  • Legal 500: UK Bar – Leading Criminal Junior – 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Chambers and Partners, the UK Bar – Leading Crminal Junior – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Notable Cases


  • R v JF (2019-21)
    Supreme Court (Murder) Lead Counsel representing youth before Hollingworth J. Case involving issues of numerous child witnesses and complex causation issues by virtue of the victim suffering from brittle bone disease.
  • R v Allen (2017-2018)
    Murder/manslaughter (Supreme Court) Junior alone. Mr Allen attacked with weapons and in defence/retaliation stamped on deceased several times.
  • R v TB (2017) (Supreme Court)
    Junior Alone. Multi-accused murder relating to a car jacking where the deceased was fatally stabbed.
  • R v Whitfield (2020-21)
    After submissions and discussion, murder withdrawn by the Crown. Accused was alleged to be honeytrap for deceased who was a drug dealer. D pleaded G to robbery in the event and dealt with in Magistrates Court with a CCO and time served.
  • R v Assad (2021)
    Lead Counsel. Ongoing. Conspiracy to murder x 3. PII issues and covert operatives.
  • R v GD (2021)
    Junior Alone. Ongoing. Manslaughter . Representing midwife charged relating to a woman who died in childbirth.
  • R v Allelly (2021)
    Junior Alone. Tragic culpable driving case with rebound fatigue an issue in the case.


  • R v Kocoglu (2018-2019)
    Lead Counsel. Funding terrorism – ISIS
  • R v Temssah (2020-21)
    Lead Counsel, Preparatory Acts, Foreign Incursion Offence – ISIS.
  • R v HSK (2020-21)
    Junior Alone; Ongoing. Female Accused – Supporting and offering services for ISIS. Included directors appeal re: grant of appeal. FBI and PII issues.

Sexual Offences

  • R v Bloomfield (2020-21) (Court of Appeal) (County Court)
    Successfully appealed Mr Bloomfield’s conviction based upon fresh evidence from a witness who in fact gave evidence at the original trial. Retained to act for the re-trial.
  • R v Brock (2021) (County Court)
    Junior Alone. Represented Deaf Accused charged with false imprisonment and sustained and repeated knife point rapes of complainant who had significant mental health and cognitive issues. After disclosure requests and 7 days of cross-examination, the Crown withdrew all charges.
  • R v Grabski (2021) (County Court)
    Lead Counsel. Appeal against conviction in case where alleged teacher had sexually assaulted two students, one with learning difficulties who required an intermediary. Not guilty of all counts.
  • R v JF (2020) (Children’s Court)
    Represented youth who was charged with rape (also represented in murder proceedings). Numerous child witnesses involved. After a 7 day trial, Accused acquitted of all charges.
  • R v Khan (2017) (County Court)
    Junior Alone. Represented step-father accsued of several rapes/incest of 8 year old step-son. After cross-examination of the 8 year old, the Crown withdrew all charges.

Public Inquiries/Coronial Inquests

  • Royal Commission into Police Informants (2018-2020).
    Led Junior. Instructed as one of two counsel representing Lawyer X, Nicola Gobbo.
  • Inquest in the Death of Isabella Rees (2018)
    Representing the family of Isabella Rees who tragically died when ingesting a button battery.
  • Inquest into the death of Christopher Johnston (2019)
    Counsel Assisting suspected homicide of Mr Johnston.
  • Inquest into the death of Kylie Cay (2020)
    Counsel Assisting in relation to Ms Cay’s death, which included consideration of the conduct of Ambulance Victoria and Corrections.
  • Inquest into the death of Robena Lloyd (2021)
    Counsel Assisting in relation to Ms Lloyd’s death considering the adequacy of the medical care Ms Lloyd received, in particular in the context of her intellectual disability.

Organised Crime/Drug Importation

  • R v Rodgerson (County Court, 2019-20)
    Leading Junior. Dark web/bit coin flying kangaroo drug importation.
  • R v AL (County Court) (2020-present)
    Junior Alone. Multi-accused drug importation from Mexico. Representing main accused. Also separate money laundering offences.

Other cases include significant drug importations, OMCG violence cases, frauds/deceptions, and IVOs (including for celebrity clients).

Download a summary of Rishi’s previous cases in the UK
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