Flaws in composite laminates may result in a severe loss of static and dynamic strength. Such flaws may be inherent or gained by misadventure. The extent of this loss can be influenced by several factors including loading, laminate stacking sequence, lamina properties, flaw size and damage type. In this study, the free-edge delamination of a laminated composite under compression loading is investigated. Computational, analytical and experimental tests are performed on a graphite/epoxy laminate AS4/3501-6 containing near surface edge defects and the crack opening behaviour is investigated. The computational analysis consists of a three dimensional finite element model where the plies can be catered for individually and interply delamination modelled. In the experimental investigations, a delamination is simulated by inserting teflon film at appropriate locations during the lay-up process.