Solicitor advocate is first to be awarded the red bag

A SOLICITOR advocate has become the first person from outside the Bar to be presented with a coveted “red bag” by a senior counsel in recognition of his outstanding advocacy skills.

John Davis was presented with the embroidered bag by Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC, who led him in a recent international fraud case.

Until now, red bags have been handed out exclusively to up-and-coming junior counsel. Horwood-Smart opted to break with tradition and to present Davis with the bag after he won a complex legal tussle for the client.

“I have worked with him on a number of occasions and I was particularly impressed by his advocacy during the trial,” said Horwood-Smart, who contacted the Bar Council and the Lord Chancellor's department to check that there would be no objection to the presentation.

Horwood-Smart, a tenant at 5 King's Bench Walk, said she did not think solicitor advocates represented a threat to barristers. “I think solicitor advocates are remarkable beings because they have to cope with all the pressures of running a practice as well as the pressures of appearing in court,” she explained.

Davis, who qualified as a solicitor advocate in 1994, said: “I am deeply honoured, particularly as I am the first non-barrister to receive this recognition. It is also particularly gratifying that no objection was taken either by the Bar Council or the Lord Chancellor's Department.”