Focus on Lord Pannick, QC, Chairman of BFHU Legal Group09-02-2017
Lord Pannick, QC, at Blackstone Chambers, acted for the lead claimant Gina Miller in the historic 11-justice Supreme Court case. The justices ruled by eight to three that the government needs parliament's approval to trigger the process to leave the European Union.
What were the main challenges? To focus the argument on the basic constitutional principle of parliamentary sovereignty, and to respond to the powerful advocacy of James Eadie, QC, for the government, who sought to deflect the argument on to other issues. I had great support from James Libson and his team at Mishcon de Reya and from my co-counsel, Rhodri Thompson, QC, Anneli Howard, Tom Hickman and Dan Sarooshi.
What's the best decision you've taken as a lawyer? To join Blackstone Chambers, then 2 Hare Court, in 1980. I have been fortunate to work with a very talented group of lawyers led by our superb chambers director, Julia Hornor, in an environment blissfully free from acrimony.
Who has inspired you in your career? Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC, and Michael Beloff, QC. I acted as junior counsel to each of them on dozens of occasions. They taught me that advocacy is as much about listening as it is about speaking.
What's the oddest thing that has happened to you as a lawyer? Successfully submitting to the Video Appeals Tribunal in 1999 with Jane Mulcahy, QC, instructed by Henri Brandman - who I have known since we were ten - that the videos Nympho Nurse Nancy and Horny Catbabe could be sold in a licensed sex shop because the close-ups were not too close up.
What's the best advice you've received? From my brilliant clerk Gary Oliver: "Don't become a judge." I still enjoy arguing cases and I like my independence at the Bar and as a crossbench peer in the Lords.
What law would you enact? A law to reduce the size of the House of Lords. We do good work revising legislation, usually in a non-partisan manner, but there do not need to be 800 of us.
Which three qualities should a lawyer have? Common sense, a sense of humour and a sense of proportion.
How would you like to be remembered? As a skilful advocate and lawyer who was also a devoted husband and a doting father to six children.
As printed in The Times / News Syndication
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