In celebration of Brick Court’s 100th birthday in 2021, we are proud to present this series of programmes featuring past and present members of chambers in conversation, discussing their experience and experiences – in practice, on the bench and in all sorts of other places that a career in law has taken them.
We hope that these programmes will be of interest and use to barristers, solicitors, judges, law students … or indeed anyone with an interest in the law.
Podcast production and editing by Adam Batstone and Nick Carter of Adam Batstone Media and Communication
In this first episode, Helen Davies QC talks to Sir Nicholas Green (Green LJ). Sadly, given lockdown restrictions, their conversation was recorded remotely. Their wide-ranging discussion of life in practice, at Brick Court and beyond takes in:
Sir Nicholas Green is a Lord Justice of Appeal and Chair of the Law Commission.
After swimming for England and a career in academia, Nick Green was called to the bar in 1986, and joined Brick Court Chambers in 1990. Practising predominantly in European and competition law, public and constitutional law, he took silk in 1998. He was Chair of the Bar in 2010, and Joint Head of Chambers from 2011 until he went to the High Court Bench in 2013. In 2018, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal, and appointed as Chair of the Law Commission.
Helen Davies QC is Joint Head of Brick Court Chambers.
Helen Davies was called to the bar in 1991, joining Brick Court as a pupil in 1992. Her practice encompasses much of the breadth of Brick Court’s work, from heavy commercial litigation to competition law and Euro work. She took silk in 2008, and became Joint Head of Chambers in 2013 - one of the first female heads of a magic circle set.
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In this second episode (again, recorded remotely), David Anderson QC and Maya Lester QC share views and experiences on “Stepping outside the law”.
Why and how do some lawyers step outside the law? How does legal life prepare one for public life? What happens when law and politics meet, and when might each need to give way? Where and how can one have the most impact – in the courtroom or outside it? What do lawyers bring to the House of Lords?
And why are foreign spooks jealous of the British (is it really James Bond)?
Join David and Maya as they discuss these, and a host of other, questions.
Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC is a leading silk in public and constitutional, human rights, EU and regulatory law. As Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation from 2011-2017, his reviews into investigatory powers and intelligence-handling prompted major changes in UK law and practice. Having been named as Halsbury’s Legal Personality of the Year, and as one of the Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential Londoners, he was knighted in 2018 and appointed to the House of Lords as a cross-bench peer. He also sits on the Courts of Appeal of Guernsey and Jersey, and chairs UCL’s European Institute and the international conflict resolution charity Inter-Mediate.
Maya Lester QC was called to the Bar in 2000 and took silk in 2016. As the directories put it, she is “Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt” and "owns the world of sanctions". She founded and co-writes europeansanctions.com, the leading online resource on sanctions with over 8000 followers worldwide, and has given evidence on sanctions to a number of parliamentary committees. She practises in public and administrative, European and competition, human rights, public international and sanctions law.DOWNLOAD TO DEVICE
The relaxation of lockdown restrictions allowed us to bring these two greats together, face to face, to discuss their careers, their cases against each other, trial advocacy vs appellate advocacy, learning how to cross-examine … and whether or not one should keep score! Conversation of course turned to Sydney’s famous cases in South Africa, and whether lawyers can and should seek to bring about political change, as well as to Jonathan’s appointment direct to the Supreme Court, and the extent to which retired judges should speak out on public issues.
Join Sydney and Jonathan as they discuss these, and a host of other, topics.
Sir Sydney Kentridge KCMG QC SC is widely regarded as one of the great advocates of the 20th century. His practice in South Africa, before he moved to Brick Court, covered all areas of law, though he is most famous for having represented numerous high-profile anti-apartheid figures including three Nobel Peace Prize winners – Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela (at both the Treason Trial and the Prison Trial) and Desmond Tutu – and the family of Steve Biko at the inquest into his death in police custody. Having moved to England and Brick Court Chambers in 1978, Sydney then enjoyed a pre-eminent career at the English bar, retiring only after celebrating his 90th birthday by appearing before the Supreme Court.
Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption OBE QC FSA FRHistS has famously been described as the cleverest man in Britain. He enjoyed a 25-year career in silk, becoming one of the dominant figures at the Commercial Bar and, as time went on, the most widely sought-after barrister in Britain for any important case of any kind. His appointment direct to the Supreme Court was announced in 2011, an appointment that he took up after the (successful) conclusion of Berezovsky v Abramovich. He retired from the Supreme Court in December 2018, having had, in his seven years in the court, an enormous influence on English law. Throughout his career at the bar, he maintained his other career, as a medieval historian, publishing regularly and winning the Wolfson Prize in 2009.DOWNLOAD TO DEVICE
In this episode of the Brick Court Chambers centenary podcast series two legal greats discuss their reminiscences of Brick Court and the bar and their experience in the field of public inquiries.
After a career in practice at Brick Court as a commercial advocate, Nicholas Phillips, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, went on to a judicial career of unparalleled success, occupying all the major judicial offices. He is a former Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice, Senior Law Lord (the last) and President of the Supreme Court (the first). Amongst (many) other public inquiries, he presided over the BSE Inquiry into Mad Cow Disease from 1998 to 2000.
Sir Christopher Clarke was Head of Chambers from 1990 to 2004. In practice, he was one of the leading commercial advocates of his day, and acted as Counsel in a number of inquiries. Most famously, he was Counsel to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry for six years. As a judge he sat in the Commercial Court for eight years and in the Court of Appeal for four years, retiring in 2017.
They discuss, on the basis of their extensive first-hand experience, the nature and conduct of public inquiries, including an assessment of how the future public inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic could and should take place.
The podcast is introduced and hosted by Fionn Pilbrow QC.DOWNLOAD TO DEVICE
In this episode, Harry Matovu QC talks to George Leggatt, a Justice of the Supreme Court, about judging – becoming a judge, the job and experience of being a judge, and appointments to, and the composition of, the bench.
Why do people become judges? What is it like being out of your (commercial) comfort zone when sitting as a Recorder trying criminal cases? How easy is it to shift a judge from a preliminary view formed on the papers? How do judges reach their decisions, both when sitting alone and with other judges in appellate courts? Why does one need diversity on the bench, and what are the risks of not having it? Join Harry and George as they discuss these, and a host of other, questions.
Harry Matovu QC
Harry Matovu joined Brick Court in 1989 and he took silk in 2010. He has a wide-ranging practice in the fields of commercial litigation and international arbitration, acting both as leading counsel and as an arbitrator. Harry was named in The Lawyer ‘Hot 100’ for 2021 and he was nominated as Silk of the Year for International Arbitration in the Legal 500 Awards 2020. In addition to his professional practice, in 2020 he created, developed, launched and advanced the Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions, work that has seen him recognised in the Powerlist 2021 as one of the most influential black professionals in the UK and nominated for his Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion in this year’s Chambers Bar Awards.
George Leggatt joined Brick Court Chambers in 1985, having been a Harkness Fellow at Harvard, a Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and worked at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. He had a wide commercial practice, taking silk in 1997. He was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board from 2006 – 2008. His judicial career started on a part-time basis, as a Recorder on the Western Circuit, a deputy high court judge and acting as an arbitrator, before his full-time appointment to the High Court in 2012. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2018 and to the Supreme Court in April 2020.
Relevant links mentioned in the programme
Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions
Judicial Attitudes Survey