20 Essex Street silk wins FCO legal advisory role

20 Essex Street’s Daniel Bethlehem QC has won an open competition to be appointed as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) new legal adviser.

Bethlehem replaces Sir Michael Wood, who is retiring after more than six years in the role to join 20 Essex Street in March.

Wood is to carry out a pupillage at the set with a view to becoming a full member.

Bethlehem was selected for the position after the FCO held its first-ever open competition. Previous legal advisers have been selected from within the department.

Appointed silk in 2003, Bethlehem’s practice focuses on public international law. He is also director of the Lauterpacht Research Centre for international law at the University of Cambridge.

The selection panel comprised FCO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Michael Jay, government legal head Dame Juliet Weldon and president of the International Court of Justice Dame Rosalyn Higgins.