Richard Ferguson (barrister)
Born in Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, the son of a sergeant in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ferguson attended Rainey Endowed School and Methodist College. He later studied Law at Trinity College, Dublin and Queen's University, Belfast. He qualified to practice as a barrister in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and from 1972, in England.
In 1968, Ferguson was elected to the Parliament of Northern Ireland for the Ulster Unionist Party, representing South Antrim. He was considered a liberal Unionist and was a supporter of the Prime Minister Terence O'Neill.  Before his election, he had called for local government reform including a one man, one vote system.
Ferguson held his seat at the 1969 general election. In August, he resigned from the Orange Order, and was subsequently subject to intimidation. He stood down from Parliament in 1970 alongside O'Neill, citing ill health. In April, his house was firebombed in an attack blamed on loyalists.
In 1971, Ferguson joined the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland but did not continue in an active political role. Instead, he focused on law, becoming a Queen's Counsel (QC) in Northern Ireland in 1973 and chairing the Northern Ireland Mental Health Review Tribunal from 1973 until 1984. He departed Northern Ireland in 1983 and became a Senior Counsel, before moving to London in 1986 where he became a QC in England. From 1993 until 1995, he served as the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association.
He was defence counsel in many high-profile cases, such as those of mass-murderers Rosemary West and Patrick Magee, and successfully defended two British soldiers accused of war crimes in Iraq. By 2003, he was the top-earning criminal defence barrister, with more than £800,000 in that year.
Ferguson died after heart surgery on 26 July 2009, aged 73. He is survived by his second wife, Roma (née Whelan), a solicitor, and their son; and by his first wife, Janet (née Magowan), and their four children.
- "Northern Ireland-born QC who defended Rose West and Brighton bomber dies aged 73", Belfast Telegraph, 29 July 2009
- Biographies of Members of the Northern Ireland House of Commons
- Graham Walker, A History of the Ulster Unionist Party
- 14-19 October, 1968, Historical Documents Project, The Queen's University of Belfast
- Tony Geraghty, The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence
|Parliament of Northern Ireland|
|Member of Parliament for South Antrim