As many leading solicitors say, when one barrister takes silk there is a scrabble to find the silks-to-be who are still juniors.
They add, however, that with many of the specialist sets in the area of public law headed by public law heavyweights, there is generally sufficient strength and depth in those specialist chambers to be confident instructing others within them.
But with the growth of the commercial judicial review – as one partner says: “There are regulators all over the place, and what they say can cost companies millions of pounds” – there is also the option of instructing juniors from the straight commercial Bar.
One regional partner adds: “People are more aware of what decisions are challengeable, and lawyers in particular are considering and advising on judicial review as a possible avenue of recourse.”
There are a clutch of juniors on the level of senior and junior juniors considered capable of taking on the overflow of work from the silks in the area of public law as a whole. With many cases involving an 'underdog', the legal aid budget will not always stretch to a leader's fees, and this leaves the way open for the juniors in the public law sets to make their mark.
One partner comments that this is the ideal area of practice to gain in-depth experience over a relatively short period because it “tends to be short and sharp, there is no discovery, and if it is expedited, it is all over within six months”.
Of the juniors that received most recommendations, Michael Fordham at 2 Hare Court “stands out as one of the first barristers to go to, and is easy to work with” followed closely by “up and coming” Dinah Rose at the same set. Also at the top are Rabinder Singh “who is not to be missed off the list” and Richard McManus at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square who received numerous mentions.
Also at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, the juniors who have been singled out as following in the footsteps of their joint heads are John Hobson, Timothy Corner, Tim Kerr, Thomas Hill and Helen Mountfield, with the “very good” Murray Hunt and the “impressive” David Wolfe.
At 2 Hare Court, there is “a very good crop of very knowledgeable barristers” – Beverley Lang who is “always very much in the welfare end of public law practice”, the senior junior Paul Goulding, plus Monica Carss-Frisk, Pushpinder Saini, Adam Lewis and Javan Herberg. Relatively junior Mark Shaw at this set is tipped as “one to watch”, as is Tom Weisselberg.
At 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, Joanna Smith and Katie Astaniotis also rate honourable mentions, while Geoffrey Stephenson is “impressive on public law”.
Singled out as a rising star in particular is Nathalie Lieven at 4 Breams Buildings, and at the same set, a raft of the juniors are highly rated – David Holgate, David Elvin, Timothy Mould, are all singled out for praise, with Christopher Katkowski also rating numerous mentions.
At 11 King's Bench Walk, Peter Oldham, Nigel Giffin, Philip Sales and Jonathan Swift are “very good”.
Many of the practitioners also mentioned the requirement for counsel to have the ability to deal with the European perspective of cases as an essential element in this area, and singled out in particular senior junior Peter Duffy at Essex Court Chambers.
At 2 Garden Court, Owen Davies is recommended, as is Jan Luba who is described as “a legal heavyweight”. Mention is also made of David Watkinson and Margaret Jones.
Senior junior at Doughty Street, Gavin Millar is noted as “approachable and practical”, and there is praise of others in the set such as Keir Starmer, Kate Markus and Martin Westgate.
Stephanie Harrison, Manjit Gill, and Rambert de Mello at 6 King's Bench Walk are all noted for public law work, as is John Bowers at Littleton Chambers and Robert Fookes at 2 Mitre Court Buildings.
At 39 Essex Street Chambers, junior junior Sean Wilken is “extremely good, and personable, which counts with clients”, and Jennifer Richards who “knows what she's doing.” Robert Jay, Steven Kovats and Alan Maclean are also singled out.
Peter Roth at Monckton Chambers is described as “very solid and extraordinarily good” and Stephen Richards is also recommended as “certainly knowing what he is doing”.
At the commercial end of judicial review, at Brick Court Chambers, is the “extremely knowledgeable” David Lloyd-Jones, and George Leggatt, Nicholas Green and David Anderson are “easy to deal with” as are Neil Kitchener, and Alan Griffiths. Jeffery Onions at 1 Essex Court is described as “a very good example of a top commercial law barrister who can do judicial review work very well”.
In the area of planning, Meyric Lewis at 2 Harcourt Buildings stands out, as does Stephen Morgan at 1 Serjeant's Inn. Simon Pickles and the more junior Martin Edwards and Sasha White at the set are also recommended.
For community care and mental health work, Craig Barlow at 29 Bedford Row is described as having a “thorough working knowledge”.
Outside London, Jeremy Cahill at 5 Fountain Court in Birmingham is also recommended, as is Frances Patterson at the set 40 King Street in Manchester.