Brick Court Chambers

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.

ONCE YOU HAVE LISTENED TO THESE CENTENARY PODCASTS, DON’T FORGET ALSO TO LISTEN TO OUR SOCIAL MOBILITY PODCASTS, WHICH YOU WILL FIND HERE

Podcast production and editing by Adam Batstone and Nick Carter of Adam Batstone Media and Communication

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  • Episode 1 – Sir Nicholas Green and Helen Davies QC

    05/03/21

     

     

    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: 

    • the early days of “making” European law (Factortame and beyond) - “a period of enormous excitement”;
    • dealing with government, both as Chair of the Bar (the degree of access afforded vs influence achieved; dealing with increased regulation and the austerity budgets) and as Chair of the Law Commission - “the best job in the judiciary; pretty central to government” (dealing with Brexit and the logjam in government that brought);
    • the development and modernisation of chambers, and the experience of being Head of Chambers - “herding cats”
    • the work life balance (“young lawyers need to get a life”). 

    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.

    Links to organisations discussed: 
    The Bar Council 
    The Law Commission 
    The Advocacy Training Council and its toolkits

     

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    Sir Nicholas Green

    Sir Nicholas Green

    Helen Davies QC

    Helen Davies QC

  • EPISODE 2 - LORD ANDERSON OF IPSWICH KBE QC AND MAYA LESTER QC

    25/03/21



    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.

    Relevant links:
    David Anderson QC
    EU Sanctions
    Maya Lester QC Twitter
    Maya Lester QC LinkedIn
    Brick Court Chambers LinkedIn

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    Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC

    Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC

    Maya Lester QC

    Maya Lester QC

  • Episode 3 - Sir Sydney Kentridge QC and Lord Sumption

    05/07/21

     

     

    This third episode brings together two titans of the law – Sir Sydney Kentridge QC and Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption.

    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.

    Relevant links:
    Brick Court Chambers
    Sir Sydney Kentridge QC
    Sir Sydney Kentridge QC Wikipedia
    Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption Wikipedia

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    Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption

    Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption

    Sir Sydney Kentridge QC

    Sir Sydney Kentridge QC

  • Episode 4 - Lord Phillips and Sir Christopher Clarke

    26/07/21

     

    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.

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    Lord Phillips

    Lord Phillips

    Sir Christopher Clarke

    Sir Christopher Clarke

  • Episode 5 - Harry Matovu QC & Lord Leggatt

    13/10/21

    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. 

    Lord Leggatt

    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

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    Lord Leggatt

    Lord Leggatt

    Harry Matovu QC

    Harry Matovu QC

  • Episode 6 - The Mediators

    27/10/21

    In this episode, we focus on mediation.

    Brick Court Chambers is home to many of the UK’s – indeed the world’s – most highly-regarded mediators. As mediation has taken on a more prominent role in commercial litigation, so Brick Court’s mediation practice has grown alongside it – and there are now 15 mediators listed on Chambers website.

    For this podcast, we brought together four of the busiest and best known – Sue Prevezer QC, Stephen Ruttle QC, Tony Willis and Bill Wood QC – to chat about the past, present and future of mediation. Their discussion ranged widely, as one would expect, and covered topics such as working as a mediator within a barristers chambers, the relationship of the bar with mediation and the role that mediation could and should play in resolving all sorts of disputes. 

    Bill Wood QC
    Bill Wood chairs the programme. A leading commercial QC, Bill trained as a mediator in 1999. He was awarded Mediator of the Year 2018 and is ranked #1 Mediation Silk 2019 in WWL’s UK Bar Guide. He is consistently ranked in the top tiers by Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. Bill has been included in the Who’s Who Legal top ten list of commercial mediators globally every year since the list was first published in 2011. He mediates a wide variety of commercial disputes here and internationally. Bill is the ADR representative on the Civil Justice Council.  

    Stephen Ruttle QC
    Stephen has been in practice at Brick Court Chambers since 1978. He stopped practising as a barrister and QC in 2002 and since then has worked full time as a commercial mediator. By January 2019 he had mediated nearly 1500 cases of nearly every legal type from both public and private sectors. For many years he has been rated as one of the leading mediators in the UK. In 2017 he featured in a new list, Who’s Who Legal “Thought Leaders: Mediation” as one of only five in Europe and 16 in the world. In 2020 Legal 500 included Stephen in its Mediator Hall of Fame which recognises individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence over many years. Stephen is also the founder director and chair of Wandsworth Mediation Service and is active as a mediator of community and faith-based disputes. 

    Tony Willis
    Tony is a commercial mediation pioneer, among the first to be trained in 1990, among the first to mediate regularly and then, in 1998, among the first to launch his own independent practice as a full time commercial mediator as the Woolf Reforms to Civil Justice were about to take effect. His background as a litigation partner in Clifford Chance for more than 25 years (including a 2-year stint as a Managing Partner and seven years as Head of the Litigation Practice), managing teams of lawyers in some of the most complex multinational litigation gave him the experience and standing to undertake a wide range of commercial matters. He was an early member of the International Academy of Mediators, has mediated widely in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, in the US, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Hong Kong and elsewhere and has been recognised by all the prominent legal directories including some years as Commercial Mediator of the Year by WWL. Tony joined chambers as a full-time mediator in 2004.

    Sue Prevezer QC  
    After 25 years in practice, including eight years in silk, Sue was the co-managing partner of Quinn Emanuel in London from its inception in 2008 to January 2020, and was the chair of the global firm’s international trial practice. Sue decided to come back to the Bar, joining Brick Court in April 2020 to practise as an arbitrator, mediator and consultant. Building on over 25 years’ experience advising on and arguing large complex commercial cases at every level of the UK judicial system and in arbitration, and the experience of sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, Sue has quickly established herself as one of the most sought-after mediators around. Amongst other things, Sue is an accredited CEDR mediator, a Civil Mediation Council registered mediator (and member of the Civil Mediation Council), a mediator on the for the Court of Arbitration for Art Panel and a member of the London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation panel of mediators. 

    Links mentioned in the programme and other useful links
    Brick Court Chambers’ “Guide to Mediation”   
    CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution)  
    The Civil Mediation Council   

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    FEATURING

    William Wood QC

    William Wood QC

    Stephen Ruttle QC

    Stephen Ruttle QC

    Tony Willis

    Tony Willis

    Sue Prevezer QC

    Sue Prevezer QC

  • Episode 7 - Kelyn Bacon and Sarah Abram

    14/12/21

    In this seventh episode, we hear from Kelyn Bacon and Sarah Abram.

    Kelyn Bacon - Mrs Justice Bacon – joined chambers in 1999, and practised in EU and Competition law, with a particular specialism in state aid law, a subject on which she quite literally wrote the book. She took silk in 2014, and appeared in many of the leading and landmark competition cases both domestically and in Europe. In 2017 she became a deputy high court judge, and in 2020 a high court judge, sitting in the Chancery Division – the first woman from Brick Court Chambers to be appointed to the bench.
     
    Sarah Abram joined chambers in 2007. Her practice encompasses competition, EU and commercial cases. Described by the legal directories as “without doubt a star of her generation”, Sarah was nominated as EU and Competition Junior of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards in both 2019 and 2020, and won the award for Pro Bono Junior of the Year in 2021. Sarah was the driving force behind a mentoring scheme for prospective barristers from underrepresented groups, which launched in 2020 initially with 6, now with 10, participant commercial sets.
     
    Kelyn and Sarah got together to discuss women at the Bar and on the bench – the real world experience of combining family life with practice, and what can be and is being done to promote gender equality – and social mobility in the legal profession and the judiciary more generally – the challenges that are faced and the practical steps that can and are being taken. 

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    Kelyn Bacon - Mrs Justice Bacon

    Kelyn Bacon - Mrs Justice Bacon

    Sarah Abram QC

    Sarah Abram QC