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Law

General Counsel and Head of Financial Compliance, Roche
Funke Abimbola leads the UK and Ireland legal team of the world’s largest biotech company, Roche, and is the most senior black lawyer working in the UK pharmaceutical industry. She is a widely-cited spokesperson on diversity, commentating on issues for the BBC and Women in Media amongst other organisations. Her legal expertise has been recognised with numerous awards and in 2016 she was named one of Theresa May’s ‘Points of Light’, a daily award given to outstanding individual volunteers, for her work inspiring young people to achieve their potential regardless of barriers.
Human Rights Lawyer
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has been an adviser to Kofi Annan over the Syria conflict, was part of a three-person UK commission scrutinising the rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip, worked on the Enron case and represented Julian Assange in his fight against extradition. She was also involved in the Greek government’s attempt to repatriate the Elgin Marbles and is currently working on behalf of Nadia Murad, the Yazidi survivor of sex trafficking by ISIS and UN goodwill ambassador, to prosecute the terrorist organisation, saying that ‘you can’t kill an idea’ through bombing.
Judge of the European Court of Human Rights
Fluent German speaker Tim Eicke was elected to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2016. All 47 member states of the Council of Europe have a judge at the ECHR, which hears applications that a state has breached provisions set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, but whether or not the UK will remain a signatory of the convention following its withdrawal from the EU is currently uncertain. Eicke studied Law at Dundee and in Germany and previously practised at Essex Court Chambers, becoming a QC in 2011.
Master of the Rolls
Sir Terence Etherton became the second most senior judge in England and Wales when he replaced Lord Dyson as Master of the Rolls in 2016, becoming head of civil justice as president of the Court of Appeal’s Civil Division. He was also one of three judges accused of ‘blocking Brexit’ in November by ruling that Theresa May does not have the power to trigger Article 50. The first openly gay judge, Etherton was previously chancellor of the High Court for three years. He was a member of the British Olympic fencing team in 1980.
Deputy President, Supreme Court
The most senior female judge in the UK, Baroness Hale is deputy president of the Supreme Court. She was called to the Bar in 1969, scoring highest in the bar finals, and later became the youngest person ever to be appointed to the Law Commission. Hale believes that the lower courts should abandon ‘silly wigs’ and that the UK judiciary needs to be more diverse. She was born in Yorkshire and studied at Cambridge, initially becoming a lecturer at the University of Manchester. Hale was one of the eleven judges to rule on Article 50 in 2016.
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 London bombings, and was praised for her compassionate handling of the case. In 2016 she played a fictional judge in The Trial of Hamlet in the West End as part of the Shakespeare Schools festival. Hallett has said that her hero is Dr Ivy Williams, the first woman to be called to the bar.
Human Rights Lawyer
Leading barrister and human rights expert Helena Kennedy was made a Labour Life Peer in 1997 and is co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Institute of Human Rights, which this year is launching an app to record anonymous evidence of human rights breaches. Kennedy has been involved in a number of the most prominent of the last 30 years including the Brighton Bombing, the Michael Bettany espionage trial and the Guildford Four appeal, and was a junior counsel for Myra Hindley following her attempted escape from Holloway Prison. Kennedy’s foundation provides bursaries and mentoring to disadvantaged students.
President, Queen's Bench Division
Brian Leveson is best known for the Leveson Inquiry, the public investigation into the culture, ethics and practices of the press. Following the News International phone-hacking scandal, his 2012 report proposed a tougher form of media regulation and a new press law. A proposed second stage to the Inquiry, an investigation into police corruption, was reportedly shelved last year. 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.
Criminal Cases Review, Commissioner
Former Linklaters partner Alexandra Marks was appointed as a recorder in 2002 and sits as a deputy High Court judge. She is also commissioner for the Judicial Appointments Commission, recommending other deputy High Court judges to the Lord Chief Justice, and for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates miscarriages of justice. In 2016 Marks won the Law Society President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for demonstrating ‘the best of the solicitors’ profession, helping others to identify and build their careers and promoting excellence and diversity.’
President, Family Division
Sir James Munby became president of the Family Division in 2013, overseeing the sector of the High Court that deals with divorce, children, probate and medical treatment. He has expressed concern over a doubling in the number of cases relating to children in care, and recently announced a review into the fact that alleged perpetrators are allowed to cross-examine their alleged victims in a family court, something that is not allowed in a criminal court. Munby practised at New Square Chambers and became a High Court judge in 2000.
Clerk of the House of Commons
David Natzler is the 50th Clerk of the House of Commons, its foremost constitutional adviser. One of his primary responsibilities is to advise speaker John Bercow on the rules of the house, and he frequently appears before parliamentary committees. Natzler also heads the House of Commons service, comprised of around 2,300 people ranging from locksmiths to researchers, and a budget of more than £200 million. He has personal responsibility for the propriety of the way in which public money is spent. Natzler was previously clerk assistant and his predecessor Sir Robert Rogers described the role of clerk as ‘the best job in the world’.
President of the Supreme Court
The second president of the Supreme Court since its opening in 2009, Lord Neuberger is one of the UK’s most influential judges and has recently defended the impartiality of the judiciary involved in the Brexit legal battle following media criticism. He became one of the youngest ever Law Lords when he was appointed a Lord of Appeal in 2007 and is also leading an investigation for the Bar Council into widening access to the barrister profession. He studied at Oxford and worked in banking for three years before moving into law and has said he will retire in the summer.
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 Queen, Princess Diana, the BBC and the British Olympic Committee over the course of his career, and recently represented Gina Miller in challenging the government's power to invoke Article 50 without parliament approval. Pannick was apparently keen to pursue a career in law from an early age thanks to his love of arguing. According to Chambers UK, ‘he is the best silk in the country by a hundred miles’.
Human Rights Lawyer
Founder and joint head of London’s Doughty Street Chambers, Geoffrey Robertson is a highly experienced and respected human rights barrister. One of his most high profile cases of recent years saw him unsuccessfully defend Julian Assange against extradition and in 2015 he represented Armenia with Amal Clooney against genocide denier Doğu Perinçek. Robertson grew up in Sydney and studied at university there, winning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford for further study. He has written a number of books and is married to author Kathy Lette, whom he met while he was dating Nigella Lawson.
Knowledge Management Attorney, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP
Koser Shaheen first studied Law only at the age of 32, gaining a First from Birmingham City University having persuaded the admissions tutor to give her a place despite the fact that she had no A-levels. She had left school aged 11 and worked in menial jobs including as a mushroom picker and clothes packer. Upon graduating, she completed a training contract at Magic Circle firm Freshfields and now has responsibility for in-house legal documentation and know-how at Cleary Gottlieb. Shaheen is the general secretary at the Association of Muslim Lawyers and vice-chair of the Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division.
Judge of the Supreme Court
In 2016 Jonathan Sumption was one of the eleven Supreme Court judges asked to rule on Article 50, and is the only person to have been appointed to the Court without first having served as a full-time judge. As a barrister he ‘terrified opponents’ and was involved in a number of high profile cases including representing the government in the Hutton Inquiry. Described by Alastair Campbell as having ‘a brain the size of the planet’, he has published four volumes of a narrative history of The Hundred Years War, speaks French and Italian fluently and reads five other languages.
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Lord Thomas is the most senior judge in England and Wales as Lord Chief Justice since 2013 and was one of the three judges who ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without the authority of Parliament. Early in his career he 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. He is also a founding member of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve European law.
High Court Judge
High court judge Mark Warby is a former joint head of media and entertainment lawyers 5RB where he specialised in media law litigation including defamation and privacy, and sports law. Since being sworn in as a judge in 2014, Warby has presided over high profile cases including ‘plebgate’ police officer Toby Rowland pursuing libel damages from then chief whip Andrew Mitchell, and a celebrity seeking an injunction over allegations he was involved in a threesome. Warby is a co-author and editor of The Law of Privacy and the Media.
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. Wright has argued that giving MPs a vote on Brexit would be ‘positively inconsistent’ with parliamentary sovereignty, saying that the vote was cast with the expectation that the government would affect it. 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.
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