Family values tempt Lord Alexander to new home

Lord Alexander of Weedon QC has snubbed his former set Brick Court Chambers to join his son at 3-4 South Square.

Alexander, who won fame through the Spycatcher and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) cases, and who two years ago completed his chairmanship of NatWest, wil become joint head with Michael Crystal QC.

He says he has chose 3-4 South Square rather than his original home because his son David Alexander practises at the set and because he feels that he can help “a growing set of chambers”.

He says: “I’ve long admired Michael Crystal, and the rising talents in his set have made very good progress in the past two years. I feel I could strengthen it yet further. Not only are the former pupils from my time at Brick Court now tenants at South Square, several are silks, including Robin Knowles, Mark Phillips and Robin Dicker. Equally, I’ve know the other rising juniors at the set for some years as my son is a member of the chambers.”

After completing his chairmanship of NatWest in April 1999, Lord Alexander spent a brief time preparing for his presidency of Middlesex County Cricket Club, which ends in September, and on his Royal Shakespeare Company membership. He is currently chair of Middle Temple, the International Dispute Resolution Centre, Justice, the House of Lords Resolution Centre and is also chancellor of Exeter University.

Since NatWest, he has devoted himself to mediation and arbitration work in the UK and overseas. One arbitration case, which went to a full hearing in January, included an 18-month preliminary hearing. “By the full hearing, I realised how much I enjoyed arbitration,” says Alexander. “I consider mediation to be not dissimilar, in terms of skills needed, to chairing a commercial organisation or a difficult committee.

“At 3-4 South Square I hope to do a reasonable number of weeks a year in either mediation or arbitration, in addition to being available to give legal advice as a barrister.”

Alexander was given silk in 1973, and his high-profile cases include the ultra vires case over the Fares Fair policy, the Rhodesian sanctions case Lonrho v Shell and Lord Archer’s libel trial against the Daily Star.

He was chairman of the bar in 1985 and chair of the takeover panel from 1987 to 1989.