QC in waiting: Richard Booth

Barristers who applied for silk in the latest round have learned their fate. Here, successful QC applicants answer questions about life at the bar, the silk process, and which actor would play them in a film


Richard Booth
Richard Booth

Name: Richard Booth

Set: 1 Crown Office Row

Year of call: 1993

What was your first-ever job?

Stacking the shelves with bottles of Double Diamond (allegedly my first two words) behind the bar in my parents’ South Wales country club when I was four.

Which barrister most helped shape your career? Why?

When I was a teenager, my parents had a wine shop in Ross-on-Wye, where I used to work. I remember carrying cases of wine out to Sir Ronald Waterhouse’s car – seven years later he was sponsoring my call to the bar by Middle Temple. He was very wise and very helpful. [Waterhouse was a High Court judge between 1978 and 1996, he presided over the acquittal of comedian Ken Dodd on charges of tax evasion.]

At 1 Crown Office Row my pupilmasters Paul Rees (now QC) and Martin Forde (now QC), both wonderful advocates with contrasting styles.

Which case was your most memorable as a junior barrister?

When I was very junior, I was instructed on behalf of a Scandinavian au pair who had been secretly filmed by the couple employing her. The Sun found the writ and was soon publishing pictures of her headed ‘Curvy Kira’.

Why did you apply for silk?

Because I felt that the time was right, and I wanted to be recognised as a good advocate.

What was most challenging part of the silk application process?

The application form. Merely thinking about it brings me out in a cold sweat.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Ask me after the official ceremony.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The long hours and late nights of preparation.

Where will you celebrate taking silk?

With my family, friends and many supportive colleagues in chambers.

If you weren’t a barrister what would you have been?

A sports journalist.

What book are you currently reading?

Life by Keith Richards

If a film was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

My wife says Matt Le Blanc, but she is just being kind. I would say Richard Burton because I would love to have had his voice.