The top five public silks

Matheu Swallow reveals the top five silks at the administrative and public bar and what it is that that got them there.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC

Blackstone Chambers

Called to the bar: 1963 Appointed QC: 1Professional achievements/associations:

Baron, Life Peer, 1993; special adviser to Home Secretary (Roy Jenkins) 1974-76; Standing Commission on Human Rights in Northern Ireland 1975-77; President of Interights (International Centre for Legal Protection of Human Rights); member of Board Salzburg Seminar from 1997; Co-chair of the Board European Roma Rights Center; Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 1997.

Areas of practice: Public, employment, media, commercial and European law.

Publications: Editor-in-chief Butterworths Human Rights Cases; Consultant editor and contributor to: Halsbury's Laws of England (1973); The changing Constitution (ed Jowell and Oliver, 1985); Butterworths Human Rights Law and Practice (co-edited with David Pannick QC, 1999).

Significant recent cases: Tinnelly & Sons v UK (1998); Nagarajan v London Transport (1999); Woolgar v Chief Constable of Sussex Police & anor (1999); ex parte Kebilene (1999); Albert Reynolds v The Times Newspapers & ors (1999).

Richard Drabble QC

4 Breams Buildings

Called to the bar: 1975 Appointed QC: 19

Professional achievements/associations:

Chairman of the Administrative Law Bar Association; junior counsel to the Crown (common law) 1991-1995.

Areas of practice: Public law and local government, planning, social security, human rights, European law.

Publications: Contributor to: Goudie and Suppestone; Judicial Review; Halsbury's Laws, Social Security; Local Authorities and the Human Rights Act (pending)

Significant cases: Drake v CAO (1986); Smith and Nephew v Medecines Control Agency (1995); Swaddling v CAO (1998); RPR v Medecines Control Agency (1999); Bryan v UK (1993).

Nigel Pleming QC

39 Essex Street

Called to the bar: 1971 Appointed QC: 19

Professional achievements/associations:

Junior counsel to the Crown (Common Law) 1985-1992; Vice chairman of Mental Health Act Commission 1995-1997; Member of group appointed by Department of Health to report on mental health law in England and Wales 1998-1999; Deputy Judge of the High Court.

Areas of practice: Administrative and public law from environmental law to VAT.

Significant cases: Empress cars (1997); ex parte Tandy (1998); ex parte Francois (1998); Thorn EMI (1998); Nell Gwynn House (1998); Svenska International (1998); Alliance against the Birmingham North Relief Road (1999).

Michael Beloff QC

4-5 Gray's Inn Square

Called to the bar: 1967 Appointed QC: 1

Professional achievements/associations:

Joint head of chambers; president of Trinity College, Oxford; master of the bench of Gray's Inn, 1988; Court of Appeal judge in Jersey and Guernsey from 1995; deputy High Court judge from 1989; vice president and emeritus chairman of Administrative Law Bar Association

Areas of practice: Administrative, commercial, employment, media, EC and sports law.

Publications: Contributor to: The Sex Discrimination Act, 1976; Judicial Review, 1998; Sports Law, 1999; Public Law; Modern Law Review; Commercial Law Review; European Human Rights Law Review.

Significant recent cases: Hamilton v Al Fayed (1999); ex parte Begbie (1999); Severn Trent v British Waterways Board (1999).

David Pannick QC

Blackstone Chambers

Called to the bar: 1979 Appointed QC: 19

Professional achievements/associations:

Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, 1978; member of the Administrative Law Bar Association; member of the editorial board of Public Law.

Areas of Practice: Public, human rights, broadcasting and media, employment and discrimination, sports, EC and European Convention on Human Rights law.

Publications: Author of Sex Discrimination Law; co-author of Lester and Pannick: Human Rights Law and Practice (1999).

Significant recent cases: R v DPP ex parte Kebeline (1999); ex parte Pfizer Ltd (1999); R v Broadcasting Standards Commission ex parte BBC (1999); Sheptonhurst Ltd v British Board of Film Classification (1999)