About the authors
I was called in 1986. I did pupillage in London, got married and came to Leeds, which was a great decision personally and professionally. I became a Recorder in 2001, and took Silk in 2003. I have 4 daughters (I know, 4 Weddings and A Bankruptcy) and 2 of the finest dogs that ever lived. I support Leeds United, who will be in Europe next year – if there’s a war. I practise in crime and regulatory work from St Paul’s Chambers in Leeds, and in civil from Byrom Street Chambers in Manchester. I retain a mixed practice, making me an archaism bordering on an anachronism. But I do believe that experience of differing sorts of advocacy makes you a better advocate.
I believe in the law with all my heart. Certainty of what has happened is given to very few participants in events, let alone outsiders. The law must make those decisions. In order to be fair, the rules must be fair, must apply to all and must be enforced independently and without bias. Without advocates for the inarticulate, the smoother tongue and bigger purse would triumph over the better case. The role we play – for the popular and unpopular alike – is to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Bar is a profession which still, thankfully, retains a strong sense of vocation. It needs the best it can get. In 15 years time that will include those of you reading this site. I don’t care what you’re called, where you come from, what you do with your personal lives, or what colour, gender, religion, or ethnicity you are, or what your parents do or did. I simply want you to be immensely able, ready to take the rough with the smooth, work like demons and believe that everyone deserves a voice and an equal chance. If this site helps with that, I’m happy.
I am grateful to Beheshteh herself for her energy, enthusiasm and willingness to join forces. And above all I’m grateful to my Dad, who was so worried that I only wanted to be a barrister because he was a barrister, and who is now, after 33 years, just about coming round to the view that I did it because I wanted to. I don’t want to be anyone else, but if I did, I would want to be him.
This profession, infuriating and aggravating as it sometimes is, with all its propensity to inflict both crushing defeat and moments where you are the idiot they all warned you about, has given me nothing but joy. In 32 years I have never woken up and wanted to phone in sick – which is fortunate because if you don’t work, you don’t eat – and never wished I did something else. How many people can say that?
I was called and joined Goldsmith Chambers in October 2018 as a criminal pupil.
I hold a BA in Theology from King’s College London, the GDL and BPTC from the University of Law, and an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice from SOAS. I was able to fund the BPTC by obtaining an exhibition award from the Inner Temple.
While studying law, I represented excluded school children before both Governors and an Independent Review Panel. I also volunteered at The Howard League for Penal Reform, producing one-page summaries of its cases. In addition, I was previously a Director of Vocalise, an award-winning programme which teaches debating in prisons, and I taught at both HMP Scrubs and HMP Holloway. I have also mooted internationally, most recently at the International Criminal Court Moot Competition, and I’ve been both a judge and a coach for other international competitions.
Prior to starting my journey to the Bar, I worked in various guises – one of which was as a headhunter. I believe that this experience has well-equipped me for the trials of the Bar.