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The Welsh National Assembly has selected external counsel for public law and announced its intention to create similar panels for damages claims and commercial and employment disputes.
Administrative and public law specialist Clive Lewis, at the chambers of Eldred Tabachnik QC and James Goudie QC, 11 King's Bench Walk, and a door-tenant at Cardiff chambers 9 Park Place, has been appointed as the designated first junior counsel to the National Assembly of Wales. Lewis is expected to advise independently on matters relating to the assembly's scope of power and duties.
Lewis says: "I am delighted and feel very privileged about the appointment. It's an interesting job in its own right and an exciting opportunity."
The assembly previously hinted that there were few barristers locally who had the talents required for the assembly but was insistent that all panel members should come from the Wales and Chester circuit.
Counsel general and legal adviser Winston Roddick QC says: "The local bar must be up to the job. Unless the local bar has the opportunity to develop into the more specialised fields of law it will never reach the mark."
Assembly counsel spokesman Keith Bush says: "We regard it as essential that the assembly has the services of counsel of the highest ability and we are satisfied that the procedures in place achieve that."
Roddick says: "We have been able to recruit a panel of specialist barristers highly qualified to represent the assembly. I believe that this development will also act as an incentive to other barristers and solicitors in Wales to develop expertise in this field for the benefit of the community in general."
The junior counsel on the public law panel are Graham Walters of 33 Park Place, Rhodri Williams of 30 Park Place and Milwyn Jarman of 9 Park Place, which are all Cardiff sets, along with Philip Marshall and Ruth Henke of Iscoed Chambers in Swansea.
The appointments will last for three years. During that time, all will continue to practise at their respective chambers.
On the law firm panel, Eversheds won the position of main legal adviser in January and now gets 95 per cent of the work. In the event of a conflict of interests, work is passed on to Morgan Cole and Edwards Geldard.