Attorney General rejigs regional legal panel

The Attorney General’s Office has instigated the first major overhaul of its regional panel of advocates in several years.

A total of 111 candidates were appointed to the regional panel, of which 64 were new appointments.

All existing members were encouraged to reapply, along with those wishing to join for the first time.

“Particular care was taken to select counsel possessing the particular kinds of expertise and experience needed to conduct civil litigation on behalf of government departments outside London,” a statement issued by the office said.

The panel’s only solicitor-advocate Peter Woodhouse, a commercial and employment litigator from Bath firm Stone King, was reappointed to the panel. He said he expected to be advising on employment matters, but noted that Treasury counsel were “encouraged to be flexible”.

Woodhouse specialises in the transport sector and has particular expertise in public inquiries and employment tribunals. While working on the panel, advocates’ clients are likely to include the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue & Customs.

Woodhouse sees his five-year reappointment as recognition of the advocacy ability of solicitors. He will cover the South and South West circuits (Bath and Exeter) but could also find himself acting in another of the eight sub-regions if his skills are needed elsewhere or where prior relationships exist with instructing departments.

The competition process to select the three London panels – A, B and C – closed recently. These panels are reviewed annually and the results are expected by March 2008.