Director of Public Prosecutions
Alison Saunders leads the Crown Prosecution Service, which consists of 7,000 staff and undertakes approximately 800,000 prosecutions every year, in her role as director of public prosecutions. She became the second woman and first lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service to hold the role when she was appointed in 2013, and is also the first DPP not to be a Queen's Counsel. Saunders qualified as a barrister and worked at Lloyd's of London before joining the CPS when it was first formed in 1986. Prior to becoming director of public prosecutions, Saunders was chief crown prosecutor for the CPS, during which time she was involved in the retrial and conviction of the murderers of Stephen Lawrence.
Chairman of the Bar
Chantal-Aimée Doerries is 2016 chairman of the Bar Council, the body that represents barristers in England and Wales and promotes fair access to justice for all. Practising from Atkin chambers, Doerries predominantly represents clients in relation to infrastructure projects and the energy sector, and has worked around the world, including in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. She became a QC in 2008. The Bar Council has recently introduced a change in its Pupillage Gateway timetable so that students know the outcome of their pupillage applications prior to committing to the costly Bar Professional Training Course.
High Court Judge
In 2015 New Zealand judge Patria Goddard was appointed to lead the independent inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK, set up in 2014 by Theresa May following the Jimmy Savile scandal. Goddard was one of the first two women to be appointed Queen's Counsel in New Zealand in 1988, and became a High Court judge in 1995 – believed to be the first Maori judge of the High Court. She has also acted as an expert to the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture in her role as chair of New Zealand's Independent Police Conduct Authority, and was made a dame in 2014 in recognition of her human rights work.
Named Barrister of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in 2015, Bridget Dolan specialises in issues of mental health and deprivation of liberty, and worked as a forensic psychologist for 13 years prior to her call to the Bar. In 2014 she acted as counsel to the coroner for the inquest into the deaths of six British hostages and one UK-based Colombian killed by Al-Qaeda linked terrorists at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in 2013. Practising from Serjeants' Inn Chambers, she often provides operational policy advice to public bodies and has written a number of academic papers on mental capacity issues.
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
Gillian Guy has been chief executive of independent charity Citizens Advice since 2010. Aiming to be 'a voice for people who are not being heard', the charity plays a crucial role in the provision of advice to members of society on legal, financial and other issues, and frequently influences decision makers through its research and lobbying. Guy trained as a lawyer and was previously CEO of Victim Support. Following government cuts to legal aid, the Citizens Advice Bureau plays an ever more important role in providing access to both legal and social advice and in influencing government policy. Guy has expressed particular concern over the effect of cuts on domestic abuse victims, and has also highlighted the danger posed by rogue landlords in a growing private rental sector.
Attorney General
Jeremy Wright is the chief legal adviser to the government and the Crown as attorney general for England and Wales and advocate general for Northern Ireland, appointed by David Cameron in 2014. His most high profile role in recent months has been advising the prime minister on the legality of airstrikes in Syria, and he has also introduced a new scheme allowing senior barristers to challenge unduly lenient sentences by judges. Wright studied Law at Exeter and specialised in criminal law upon qualifying as a barrister. He has been an MP since 2005 and was formerly minister for prisons and rehabilitation.
Head of chambers at 2 Hare Court, 'star silk' Jonathan Laidlaw acted for Rebekah Brooks in the 2014 phone-hacking trial, helping secure her acquittal on all charges. Specialising in fraud and business crime, he frequently appears in high profile inquests and sporting tribunals and acted for the Football Association during the Hillsborough inquests. Described as 'an extraordinarily able advocate with great style', he was called to the Bar in 1982 and took silk in 2008. In 2014, Laidlaw was named Crime Silk of the Year by Chambers and Partners.
Senior Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna
Penelope Warne joined law firm CMS Cameron Mckenna in 1993 to establish its Aberdeen office. Just over 20 years later, she has transformed it from a one-woman show to the market's leading Scottish practice following the firm's merger with Dundas & Wilson in 2014. An oil and gas specialist, Warne leads the energy group practice at CMS and has subsequently opened offices in Edinburgh, Brazil, Mexico and Dubai. Currently one of only two female senior partners in the top 20 law firms, Warne advises clients working across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Russia, and also trains oil industry lawyers at Dundee University.
Solicitor General
As solicitor general for England and Wales, Robert Buckland is responsible for advising the Cabinet and the Crown on the law. A Conservative MP for Swindon South since 2010, Buckland previously practised as a criminal barrister, and has worked on reforms including the recent new crime of coercive control becoming part of a change to domestic violence law. He has also campaigned for children with special educational needs, including autism, and was awarded a Grassroots Diplomat Initiative Award for this work in 2013. Buckland grew up in the mining heartland of Llanelli, but joined the Conservative party as a teenager because he believed the striking miners were being badly led.
Secretary General, Amnesty International
Salil Shetty has been head of the world's largest human rights organisation Amnesty International since 2010, and is a long-term campaigner against injustice, poverty and the abuse of civil liberties. In 2015 he addressed the UN's Sustainable Development Summit, highlighting western governments' hypocrisy in continuing to practise mass surveillance and manufacture arms. Amnesty's first Indian head, he has aimed to make the organisation truly international during his five years in charge, and one of his priorities is the long-awaited closure of Guantanamo Bay. Shetty was raised in Bangalore by a lawyer mother active in women's groups and a journalist father who was a member of the Dalit movement. Prior to Amnesty he was chief executive of ActionAid and then director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign.
Director, Liberty
Early in 2016 Shami Chakrabarti announced her decision to step down from Liberty, the human rights organisation she has led for over 12 years. She has been described by the Times as 'the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the last 20 years', and has pushed civil liberties to the forefront of the public agenda. Liberty campaigns to protect basic human rights and freedoms, and much of its work has centred on excessive anti-terrorist measures following the September 11th attacks of 2001. One of its most notable campaigns was against a government proposal to introduce ID cards, subsequently abolished, and in 2011 Chakrabarti sat on the panel of the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking. She qualified as a barrister and worked for the Home Office before she was appointed director of Liberty. She was reluctant to rule out a move into politics during a recent interview with Radio 4's Woman's Hour, and says of her team at Liberty, 'we're more of a family than a workforce'.
Human Rights Lawyer
'Star of the Bar' Lord Pannick is a leading human rights lawyer and non-party political member of the House of Lords. He has acted for the BBC, the British Olympic Committee and the Sunday Times over the course of his career, as well as on behalf of right-to-die campaigner and MS sufferer Debbie Purdy, who won a landmark ruling in 2009 to clarify the law on assisted suicide. From an early age, Pannick was keen to pursue a career at the Bar thanks to his love of arguing. He has been a regular commentator and voice of reason on legal matters and has written a law and politics column in The Times for over 30 years. According to Chambers UK 2015, 'he is the best silk in the country by a hundred miles'.
Judge of the Supreme Court
'Brain of Britain' Jonathan Sumption is unique in having been appointed to the Supreme Court without first having served as a full-time judge. As a barrister he 'terrified opponents', working on a number of high profile cases, and represented the government in the Hutton Inquiry as well as in the action brought by shareholders in collapsed railway company Railtrack. An author and historian as well as a lawyer, Sumption has so far published four volumes of a narrative history of The Hundred Years War. He has written for the Telegraph and the Spectator, speaks French and Italian fluently and reads five other languages.
Deputy President of the Supreme Court
The most senior female judge in the UK, Baroness Hale is deputy president of the Supreme Court. Hale was called to the Bar in 1969, scoring highest in the bar finals, and subsequently became the youngest person in history to be appointed to the Law Commission. Hale believes that the lower courts should abandon 'silly wigs' and has criticised the judicial appointments system for selecting primarily white men boasting similar academic and economic backgrounds. She was born in Yorkshire and studied at Cambridge, initially following her teacher parents' footsteps by becoming a lecturer at the University of Manchester. Despite her success, she admits she sometimes suffers from impostor syndrome and that her greatest fear is 'being found out'.
Judge of the Court of Appeal
Born in Liverpool, Mary Arden became the Chancery Division's first female High Court judge in 1993 and only the third female judge of the Court of Appeal when she was appointed in 2000. A Kennedy Scholar at Harvard, Arden worked in company law at the beginning of her career, becoming a QC in 1986. She is head of International Judicial Relations in England and Wales, and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Arden is married to Lord Mance, a Supreme Court judge, and they were the first married couple to serve in the Court of Appeal at the same time.
Judge of the Court of Appeal
Heather Hallet became the fifth woman to sit in the Court of Appeal when she was appointed in 2005, and was also the first woman to chair the Bar Council in 1998. She was chosen as coroner for the 2010 inquests of the victims of the 7/7 bombings in London, and was widely praised for her compassionate handling of the high profile case. Having experienced what she describes as 'horrific' sexism in the profession herself, Hallet has recently been asked by the Lord Chief Justice to lead an initiative on judicial diversity, encouraging more lawyers from non-traditional backgrounds to sit in the High Court. She has been named as one of the UK's most powerful women by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
President, Queen's Bench Division
Brian Leveson is best known for leading the Leveson Inquiry, the public investigation into the culture, ethics and practices of the press. Following the News International phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the News of the World and the arrests of over 100 people including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, Leveson's 2012 report proposed a tougher form of media regulation and a new press law. Having begun his career as a Liverpool-based barrister, where his cases included the prosecution of Rosemary West, Leveson became a High Court judge in 2000. He has been president of the Queen's Bench Division since 2013 and recently produced a report to make the court system less bureaucratic and more efficient through the use of technology which will allow remote hearings.
Mater of the Rolls
Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson is the head of civil judiciary in England and Wales, appointed to the position in 2012. Dyson went to Leeds Grammar School and studied Classics at Oxford. He began practising as a barrister in 1968 and took silk in 1982. In 2001 he was appointed to the Court of Appeal and became a Supreme Court justice in April 2010. He has recently expressed concern over a perceived 'compensation culture' in the UK, and says lawyers and the media have a duty to address the idea that huge sums of money will be paid out by the courts to compensate minor injuries.
President, Supreme Court
The second president of the Supreme Court since its opening in 2009, Lord Neuberger is a former Master of the Rolls and Lord of Appeal, and one of the UK’s most influential judges. He studied Chemistry at Oxford and worked in banking for three years before moving to law. Neuberger was appointed a Lord of Appeal in 2007, becoming one of the youngest ever Law Lords. He is also responsible for leading an investigation for the Bar Council into widening access to the barrister profession, and has called on members of the judiciary to visit non-Russell Group universities to encourage a more diverse range of students to apply for pupillages.
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Appointed Lord Chief Justice in October 2013, Lord Thomas is head of the judiciary and the most senior judge in England and Wales. Thomas was born in Wales and studied at Cambridge and the University of Chicago Law School. He began practising as a barrister in 1969 and was appointed as an inspector into the affairs of the Mirror newspaper group following the death of Robert Maxwell. He became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2003 and was later president of the Queen's Bench Division. Thomas, who will hold the top job until 2017, is also a founding member of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that aims to enhance the current European legal legislation.
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