This is the second set of profiles we have prepared of a selection of newly  appointed QCs, following the initial set published in 2015.

The original purpose was to demonstrate that, whatever may have been the position in the past, appointment as QC is no longer effectively confined to white, male, barristers, educated at public school and at Oxbridge. It is of course still important to get across the message that, so far as it rests within the power of the QC Selection Panel, appointment as QC is now equally available to all higher courts’ advocates, regardless of race, gender, educational background or other extraneous personal characteristic. The sole test is excellence in all the competencies which go up to make excellence as an advocate, not personal background.

However, we have also found that interviewing newly appointed QCs and preparing these profiles provides us with a rich source of feedback on the appointment process. It is plain that, despite all our efforts, a number of those from less traditional backgrounds feel that aspects of the appointment process, as well as practice as an advocate more generally, can disadvantage those from non-traditional backgrounds. Since that feedback comes from applicants who have themselves succeeded in the competition perhaps makes it even more powerful. My colleagues and I on the Selection Panel are determined to do all we can to address those issues ourselves, and to alert the professional bodies to issues which arise from practice as an advocate more generally.

The pen pictures which follow are all of applicants appointed in 2016. We are very grateful to them for agreeing to participate, and for giving up their time to be interviewed. We hope that their stories will be of interest to prospective applicants in 2017 and beyond.

Helen Pitcher OBE
Chairman, QC Selection Panel
July 2016

Jayne Adams
QC – Ropewalk Chambers, Nottingham

Jayne Adams

Jayne Adams QC was one of the 107 applicants appointed to silk in the 2015/2016 QC Competition. Jayne specialises in personal injury, clinical negligence, and fraudulent claims litigation but has focused increasingly on industrial disease work in recent years and this now accounts for some 70% of her case load. Whilst always working in the personal injury field, earlier in her career Jayne had also specialised in work on many abuse-in-care cases. However she had reached a point where she felt that she had done enough such work which “could take its toll”. So having worked on what was to become a leading case on industrial deafness during pupillage, (her pupil master had specialised in the area) the decision to reduce the abuse work provided the spur for Jayne to take on more cases on industrial diseases. Jayne said that she realised it might sound a bit morbid, but she found the legal and factual complexities surrounding issues such as chemical poisoning fascinating.

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Mark Harper
QC – Kings Chambers, Manchester

Mark Harper

Mark Harper QC was one of 107 advocates appointed silk earlier this year at the ceremony in Westminster Hall. Mark said he was “still on cloud nine” at being appointed Queen’s Counsel.

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Clodagh Bradley
QC – One Crown Office Row, London

Clodagh Bradley

Clodagh Bradley QC was one of 107 (of 237) applicants who were appointed to silk in 2016. She specialises in healthcare regulatory law, clinical negligence and inquests with a medical or psychiatric element and undertakes work in the Court of Protection. She has dealt with a range of disciplinary cases in the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, including cases involving concerns about alcohol and opiate misuse, criminal offences and performance issues. Her clinical negligence practice has included obstetric claims and surgical cases, including live donor transplant surgery. Clodagh has appeared on behalf of families, doctors, NHS Trusts, the police and the prison service. Many of her cases have included human rights issues and controversial ethical elements such as the withholding of treatment from elderly patients.

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Brian Kennelly
QC – Blackstone Chambers, London

Brian Kennelly

Brian Kennelly QC was one of 107 advocates appointed silk earlier this year at the ceremony in Westminster Hall. We met at Brian’s London Blackstone Chambers where Brian specialises in EU and Competition, Public Law and Human Rights, Commercial and Sport.

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Lisa Busch
QC – Landmark Chambers, London

Lisa Busch

Lisa Busch QC was called to the Bar in 2000 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2016. Lisa practices in planning and environmental law and in human rights, including in a number of the leading cases concerning Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR in the immigration context. Lisa also deals with immigration cases generally, including ones involving human trafficking, victims of torture and unlawful detention cases. She has been on the Attorney-General’s Panel since 2005, acting for a wide range of Government departments including the Departments for Health, Education, Communities and Local Government, Justice, Transport and the Home Office.

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Hannah Markham
QC – 36 Bedford Row, London

Hannah Markham

Hannah Markham QC was one of 107 applicants (25 of whom were women) who were appointed Queen’s Counsel at the silk ceremony in Westminster Hall on 22nd February. Hannah’s practice encompasses all areas of children’s work, including international, Court of Protection and family related judicial reviews. She is also a qualified family mediator and trains social workers in court skills and often presents lectures to the judiciary and local lawyers in ongoing training and skill development.

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Bridget Dolan
QC – Serjeants’ Inn Chambers, London

Bridget Dolan

Bridget Dolan QC, who is one of the 25 women appointed to QC in 2015/16, was a forensic psychologist prior to her call to the Bar at the age of 34 (she studied eating disorders for her PhD). The move to the legal profession enabled Bridget to achieve a long-held ambition to combine the two careers, her interest in mental health law dating back to her undergraduate studies at Bradford University, where she achieved a first class degree in Psychology.

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John McKendrick
QC – Outer Temple Chambers, London

John McKendrick

At 39, John is one of the youngest new Queen’s Counsel, appointed earlier this year at the silk ceremony in Westminster Hall in London. John has a diverse practice, working in public, commercial and regulatory law in the UK, and also across Latin America and in the Caribbean. John worked in Panama and is called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and he is a fluent Spanish speaker. John appears before a wide range of tribunals, from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, through the Court of Protection (C o P) to the full range of the Tribunal system. He clearly relishes the range and variety of his practice, speaking with equal passion about dealing with complex medical ethics and law in the C o P (eg forced sterilisations in people who lack capacity) as about international and supra-national anti-corruption legislation.

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James Ewins
QC – Queen Elizabeth Buildings (QEB) Chambers, London

James Ewins

I met James Ewins QC in his chambers at Queen Elizabeth Buildings (QEB). James was one of the 107 new Queen’s Counsel appointed silk in the ceremony in Westminster Hall, London on 22nd February this year. Our conversation ranged widely. We talked about James’s career choices, his life outside of work, about equality and diversity issues and about his experience of the QC selection process.

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Kama Melly
QC – Park Square Barristers, Leeds

Kama Melly

Kama Melly was one of this year’s 107 new Queen’s Counsel; one of just 25 women (of 48 who applied) appointed silks in the 2015/16 Competition. I met Kama in The Savoy Hotel, London the day after her oath-taking as a new silk at Westminster Hall. She had popped down for a few days from Leeds with her husband and children to make a few days out for this very special occasion. As Kama said, “staying in the Travelodge would not have been quite the same!”

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Dr Simon Fox
QC – No. 5 Chambers, Bristol

Dr Simon Fox

Dr Simon Fox QC works across the country from his base in the Bristol office of No5 Chambers and he was in the London offices off Fleet Street when I met him to talk about his experience of the Queen’s Counsel competition.

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Anya Proops
QC – 11 King’s Bench Walk Chambers, London

Anya Proops

Anya Proops was one of twenty five women appointed silk in the 2015/16 Competition, alongside eighty two male colleagues. Anya specialises in information rights, media, public and employment law and she is described in the Legal Directories as “tenacious”, “a fierce advocate in court’ and “the outstanding junior counsel of choice for both the Information Commissioner and private clients across the full range of issues in information law”. She is also a formidable advocate on behalf of her female colleagues in seeking the development of a QC application process which recognises the particular challenges which many female barristers face in taking silk, particularly as a result of their child-care responsibilities, as I learned from our fascinating chat in Anya’s 11KBW Chambers.

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Kim Franklin
QC – Crown Office Chambers, London

Kim Franklin

When Kim Franklin was appointed Queen’s Counsel at the ceremony at Westminster Hall in February 2016 it was the fulfilment of a childhood ambition. She wanted to be a barrister when she was 11 years old and kept that resolve despite leaving home at 16 and supporting herself through her studies – working as a cocktail waitress, motorcycle courier and legal secretary. She was grant-funded at university and bar school. Nevertheless in the 1980’s, as a state-educated, non-Oxbridge woman, Kim was in a minority when she started practice in a specialist construction chambers. Throughout her career, Kim feels that her non-traditional background has divided opinion. Some colleagues admired her determination and drive while others she felt were fearful and prejudiced. Kim is no stranger to discrimination but she believes that her experiences have operated to her advantage, making her a more resilient, resourceful and adaptable professional.

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