Environmental and urbanization challenges during the last few decades encouraged steady growth of mass timber construction where attention is drawn to cross laminated timber (CLT) as one of the most interesting products in terms of mechanical properties, versatility, efficient prefabrication and sustainability. Standardisation and codification regarding testing and design of CLT elements are hence pointed out as one of the main issues within the ongoing revision procedure of Eurocode 5. A consistent and unified design approach for CLT at pure in-plane shear loading conditions (shear walls) and at in-plane beam loading conditions is however still missing. This paper deals with analytical models for the determination of stress components related to predictions of load bearing capacity of CLT with respect to shear failure mode III – shear failure in the crossing areas constituted by the flatwise bonded areas between laminations of adjacent layers. This failure mode is relevant for both pure in-plane shear loading and in-plane beam loading conditions. The paper presents a review of previously proposed models for the prediction of shear stresses in crossing areas of CLT, for both loading conditions. Comparisons between FE-results and model predictions are reviewed indicating significant differences between them concerning the predicted influence of the CLT element lay-up and values of maximum shear stresses. Based on simplifications of models previously presented, a unified design proposal that is based on a rational and consistent mechanical background for both loading situations and that shows overall good agreement with FE-results is presented.