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The Treasury has a new Devil. And it’s a first for the Bar.
And it’s a first for the Bar. Blackstone Chambers silk James Eadie QC has been appointed First Treasury Counsel. As ‘Treasury Devil’, Eadie will be leading for the government in all major litigation (see story).
The quirk is that he’s the first ever silk to be appointed to the position usually given to junior barristers.
Eadie will take over from Philip Sales QC, at 11 King’s Bench Walk. Sales took silk while in the role. Former Treasury Devils include Lord Woolf and Lord Justice Richards, so the pedigree is impeccable.
The appointment marks a departure from the traditional hush-hush approach to finding the Treasury Devil. Eadie interviewed for the job, which was advertised, and the hiring process was treated the same as for any civil servant. It’s very different from the old days when a shadowy cabal, led by the Attorney General, would choose someone secretly.
But Eadie was not completely unknown to the government’s lawyers. He had been on the government’s ‘A’ barrister panel and was counsel to the inquiry headed by Lord Woolf into BAE Systems in the wake of the Saudi arms investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. In 2004 he was appointed lead counsel to the inquiry into the Soham murder investigation.
Eadie will be expected to hold the position for at least five years, and will not be able to act for any clients opposing the Government in any litigation once he leaves the job.
This doesn’t seem to worry him. “There’s always going to be tonnes of litigation for the government so there’s no problem in that respect,” he comments.
His first test will be to go up in front of nine law lords in April to fight the government’s corner in a case that could change the way that central and local government works together.
We at The Lawyer have a bit of sympathy for the Devil.