Probably the most senior barrister still practising in this country celebrated his 90th birthday last week.

John Platts-Mills QC, called to the Bar in 1932, and now a tenant of Cloisters Chambers, defended his latest clients earlier this year. All eight defendants were acquitted. A veteran of the Great Train Robbery appeal in 1964-5, and the Richardson and Kray Brothers cases, Platts-Mills said he still loves his work, and has no immediate plans to retire.

Known for his technique of learning the names of targeted members of the jury, who he would then flatter throughout the rest of the case, Platts-Mills said he thrives on the competition between counsel and living on his wits, but described his days as a Yorkshire miner during the Second World War as the best job he ever had. He spent his birthday on 4 October in Stoke-on-Trent at a reunion of ex-Bevin Boys – the men who opted to go down the pits rather than stay in the services. “I was very strong;

I used to mine 10 tons a day, I was so keen,” Platts-Mills recalled.

“The other miners used to say: 'Tha'll be back to yer posh job down South soon an' then what'll we do?'”