Work Life Quiz: Timothy Brennan QC, Devereux Chambers


What was your first-ever job?

Hotel driver (evenings) and breakfast waiter (mornings).

What was your worst experience as a pupil?

I don’t remember having bad experiences. I learned a lot from some very clever people.

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

Subject to confidentiality questions, ask me. I know where the bodies are buried.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

I’m fond of Gandhi’s, my local Indian restaurant on Gray’s Inn Road (and its staff).

What’s your favourite film?

Amadeus. I saw it on a wet afternoon in Henley in 1985 and it started an interest in opera which has stayed with me.

Who’s your hero and why?

I don’t do heroes, but I admire Sir Sydney Kentridge QC. Even in his 90s he was a compelling advocate.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake?

I’ve often thought I would have been an excellent Parliamentary draftsman, which would have played to my interest in technical law and highly accurate use of language. I should have looked more closely at that, but I’ve loved the career I have had, so calling it a ‘mistake’ would not be accurate; you can’t do everything.

What’s the most exciting case you’ve worked on and why?

Perhaps Pepper v Hart, when the House of Lords decided to admit Hansard as an aid to statutory construction; it turned an unloseable case into an unwinnable one.

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

I don’t have luxury items even when I’m not on a desert island.

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

Anthony Hopkins. There’s a physical resemblance, he can do my accent and we share a liking for fava beans and nice Chianti.

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

I’ve swum the Hellespont; I have a keen interest in locks; I am an Ironman distance triathlete.


Name: Timothy Brennan QC

Chambers: Devereux Chambers

Lives: London, Hertfordshire


1976-1980: BA, BCL, Balliol College, Oxford 

1980-81: Inns of Court School
of Law (Bar Finals)

Work history

1981: Called to the bar

1981-82: Pupillage (Fountain Court, Devereux Chambers)

1983: Tenancy: (Devereux)

1989: Additional junior counsel to the Inland Revenue

1997-2001: Junior counsel to the Inland Revenue

1998-2000: Assistant recorder

2000: Recorder

2001: Queen’s Counsel bencher (Gray’s Inn)

2008: Deputy High Court judge (QB and Chancery)