Work Life Quiz: Peter Edwards, Devereux Chambers

Peter Edwards

What was your first-ever job?

From age 15 I worked part-time at a mining museum in my home town of Stoke-on-Trent. Working with the retired miners who had spent all their lives in mining and hearing the tales that they had to tell – most of them unprintable in a respectable publication such as this – was a genuine privilege.

What was your worst experience as a pupil?

I can happily say that there was not one. Devereux was, and remains, a fantastically supportive and fun place to work.

Where is the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

Hiding under the desk in the Clerk’s room.

What time do you usually leave the office?

I was not aware that we were allowed to leave save for trips to court.

What do you do at weekends?

I spend as much time as I can with my two wonderful children. I love fire and water – so a barbecue by the river is my idea of heaven.

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

But for a lack of significant talent in either area, I would have been a professional singer or sportsman.

What is your favourite film?

Top Gun. It is sad but true that I can still recite most of the script. “I feel the need …”

What was the first record you ever bought?

Parallel Lines by Blondie. Of course purchased solely based on her musical talent.

Who’s your hero and why?

My dad for teaching me pretty much all I needed to know to get on in my life. When he died it was standing room only at his funeral, which says more than words ever could.

What’s the best thing about your job?

There are few better feelings than a cross-examination of a key witness or closing submissions that go to plan.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Significant amounts of travel and working on a Sunday.

What book are you currently reading?

Fifty Shades of Grey – 40 million women surely cannot be wrong.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?

I will have to cheat and name two. First, the Scott Inquiry, which dominated both my life and the newspapers for the best part of three years. It provided me with the opportunity to work very closely with Sir Richard Scott, then the Vice Chancellor before going on to even higher office, and one of the nicest, funniest and most supportive people you could ever meet. Second, the Autoclenz case on sham employment clauses, in which I was instructed right up to Supreme Court level in April 2011. Legally ground-breaking and absolutely crucial in protecting the rights of workers/ employees.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?

My iPod loaded with the complete works of the musical genius that is Dolly Parton.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

I worked for three solid days without sleep in the run up to the publication of the Scott Inquiry report. By the end I was drafting text for the report which my secretary later told me had no punctuation whatever.

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

Given that Dolly Parton would require a little too much of a makeover, it would have to be Tom Cruise.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

I was once caught in a lift with Nick Griffin. I was delighted to be able to inform him that I was not there to support his cause – a male nurse dismissed for distributing racist BNP material – as he had assumed (based on my skin colour). Rather, I was in the building to deliver an Equalities Act seminar to the solicitors firm on the floor above that hearing.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)…

I own, and frequently wear in Chambers, a pair of two-tone red shoes; I have my best friends’ initial branded on my person; I have a phobia of cucumber.

CV

Name: Peter Edwards

Title: Barrister

Firm: Devereux Chambers

Lives: Roydon

Education

1988-91: Law and Economics degree; University of Kent at Canterbury

1991-92: Law, Bar vocational course, London. Won the WA Makaard prize for European Community Law

Work history

1992-93: Pupil, Devereux Chambers

1993-95: Junior Counsel to Sir Richard Scott’s Inquiry into the Export of Arms and Dual-Use Equipment to Iraq

1999-present: Tenant, Devereux Chambers