Supreme Court: Why Amal Clooney could (in theory) be next to serve on the bench

And nine more lawyers poised for the judiciary’s celebrity status

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With the Daily Mail and co reeling from this week’s Brexit legal challenge judgment, the right-wing media may be pleased to note the Supreme Court bench is due a makeover.

A whole host of statutory retirement dates are coming up in the next few years, meaning six spots will need to be filled by the end of 2018.

And while you might assume top, top, top lawyers will fill these vacancies, the Supreme Court’s eligibility criteria is surprisingly thin.

According to the relevant legislation, a person satisfies the judicial appointment eligibility conditions if they qualified as a barrister or solicitor at least 15 years ago and have been gaining experience in law during this post-qualification period.

What qualifies as law-related experience is pretty vague. Though practice as a lawyer is an obvious box tick, so is teaching or researching law, being an arbitrator, drafting documents intended to affect persons’ rights or obligations, and “any activity that, in the relevant decision-maker’s opinion, is of a broadly similar nature” to this.

With that in mind, here is a list of Legal Cheek’s ten favourite lawyers all of who could qualify for Supreme Court stardom.

1. Human rights barrister Amal Clooney

amal-effect

At 38-years-old, Clooney would be a spring chicken if she was elevated to the Supreme Court bench. But, having qualified at the New York bar about 15 years ago, she may well be eligible for an appeal court stint come the swathe of retirements. She might need to gain some more United Kingdom-based experience first, but watch this space.

2. The email spat KWM partners

kwm emails

Timothy Taylor QC — father of ex-Made in Chelsea star Hugo Taylor — and New-York based lawyer George Pinkham entered into a war of words over the demise of King & Wood Mallesons. At one point Taylor even cracked a “C U Next Tuesday” gag. Perhaps this no-nonsense approach is just what the Daily Mail is looking for.

3. Blogging barrister Matthew Scott

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The criminal lawyer was called to the bar back in 1985, but would Matthew Scott be prepared to ditch his, often very opinionated, blog for Supreme Court celebrity-status?

4. The judge who called a defendant a c***

c bomb

Judge Patricia Lynch was cleared of misconduct earlier this year after she called a defendant a c*** during sentencing. Regardless of her advocacy experience, Lynch would also be entitled to fill a Supreme Court seat because she has been a judge for over two years. Maybe some straight talking is what the court needs?

5. Legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg

joshua

Joshua Rozenberg QC qualified as a solicitor back in 1976 and has been writing about the law ever since. Whether this would qualify as law-related activity for statutory purposes we’re not sure, but we think Rozenberg has taught more people about the law (including Legal Cheek readers) than most academics have.

6. Controversial barrister Barbara Hewson

babs

Called to the bar in 1985, Mansfield 1 Gray’s Inn Chambers’ Barbara Hewson is seemingly qualified for the bench. We wonder how the selection panel would view her foul-mouthed Twitter rants and contentious calls for the age of consent to be lowered to 13…

7. King of LinkedIn Dominic D’Souza

Image via D'Souza Blog
Image via D’Souza Blog

Not only is Dominic D’Souza a crime specialist at Goldsmith Chambers, he also has a funny LinkedIn page. Supreme Court bench material right there.

8. The judge who got really angry about his lost luggage

peter-smith

Readers may recall Peter Smith is the top judge who used a judgment involving British Airways to rant about some of his luggage the company had lost while he was visiting Italy. Happy days: having racked up forty years of experience in law, he would meet the Supreme Court’s eligibility criteria.

9. BoJo’s wife Marina Wheeler

marina

Now a QC, Marina Wheeler was called to the bar back in 1987 and is a tenant at One Crown Office Row. Though this makes Wheeler eligible, remember the Brexit legal challenge fiasco over Lord Neuberger’s wife and some tweets she made? Now imagine Boris Johnson. Case closed.

10. The barrister whose Twitter picture was him in his boxers

boxers

Criminal defence specialist Stephen Kamlish QC appeared to commit a major social media no-no late last year, punting for a profile picture of himself wearing nothing but his pants. He sounds the perfect candidate for the bench.

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43 Comments

Anonymous

KATIE NO! Just NO! STOP IT!

Poor Amal is going to get a restraining order taken out against you.

It’s actually getting beyond pathetic now.

(79)(1)
KATIE KING QC

I LOVE AMAL SO MUCH COS SHE’S A SLEB AND I WISH I WAS WRITING FOR OK MAGAZINE <3

(22)(3)
Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(0)
Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(2)
Anonymous

After you finished licking your asshole you come here to insult a celeb no one cares about lol

(1)(0)
Mammy Briscoe

I know- this list is hideously white.

DASS RAYSISS!!!!!!!

(4)(2)
Anonymous

That’s cos Tunde already got a retraining order against KK… Bantz

(1)(0)
Anonymous

Katie, you have moved beyond self-parody. This is truly thin stuff.

(45)(2)
Anonymous

So the whole premise of this article is wrong? If Ms Clooney was only called to the NY Bar 15 years ago, she hasn’the been a solicitor or barrister with UK qualifications for 15 years and therefore isn’t eligible yet.

I know this is click bait, but it’s not even very good click bait!

(33)(1)
Anonymous

Similarly, HHJ Sweary hasn’t been a judge of the High Court or Court of Appeal for 2 years.

(4)(0)
Not Amused

If the message of this article was that the appointment system for Supreme Court Justices is inadequate and deeply flawed, then a lot of time could have been saved, and incontrovertible proof found, by simply looking at the current occupants.

(4)(28)
Anonymous

You look down at Supreme Court judges. God you must be clever.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Nor Charlotte Proudman. Doesn’t being a militant feminist like Katie mean that the 15 year requirement is waved?!

(3)(0)
Putinenkreig

He’s already senior judiciary at the top court in the land – the Privy Arbital Court

(0)(0)
A Lawyer of 27 years experiance

LC why don’t you get Rozzers to write an article on Amal Cloony

(1)(0)
MC Associate

Amal Clooney is 38 year olds? Couldn’t have seen that one coming!

(1)(0)
Anonymous

In years to come, future readers of LC will look back at this piece of tripe and simply refer to it as the time that LC finally bottomed out.

(5)(0)
Interloper

Get over yourself, it’s just a bit of a laugh.

Disappointed not to see Lord Harley in the list though..

(3)(16)
Anonymous

*Disclaimer: some of [LC’s] [articles] are distinctly unfunny and others are just downright bizarre*

You’re right – no one is

(3)(0)
Anonymous

Literal definition of, ‘slow day at the office’ with this piece of writing

(3)(0)
Black&Decker

The Lord Harley KGCSt.J. DPhil.

Jurist & Pro Bono Senior Counsel in civil and criminal proceedings with Grade A and Grade 4 accreditation. (Highest)
Manchester, Greater Manchester, United KingdomLaw Practice
JAFLAS, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Joint Armed Forces Legal Advocacy Service
Financial Conduct Authority, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Harley of Counsel KGCStJ DPhil, Society of Operations Engineers
Trinity College….age unknown

(0)(0)
Anonymous

I like Amals’ work, but she is relatively inexperienced in the grand scheme. She is still only a junior tenant with just over 6 years call.

(0)(1)
Travelling Gavel

But why let the truth get in the way of a good KK Amal story?

(2)(1)
Anonymous

Wouldn’t go that far.. maybe the Buzz Feed of the legal world?

(0)(1)
Anonymous

Why is there this constant obsession with amal clooney on here? How is she any better than any other barrister? Is it because she’s married to george clooney?

(5)(0)
Anonymous

*ding ding ding ding* Congratulations, you’ve just won a TC at KWM

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Legal cheek is disappearing up its own arse with this rubbish but I still love it!

(1)(0)
QSP Residual Recoveries LLP TC holder

What is this crap? We want more KWM spicy banta!

(0)(1)
Anonymous

At least spin another Brexit decision article rather than this garbage.

If this is ‘content’ then LC needs to take a long hard look in the mirror.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

More Amal PR. As long as you get her name right you can spell it any colour you choose.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.