Top commercial barrister lands Attorney General role

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As ex-Linklaters lawyer scoops Brexit secretary position

Geoffrey Cox QC

A top-earning commercial barrister has become the new Attorney General as part of Theresa May’s hastily organised cabinet reshuffle.

Geoffrey Cox QC, MP for Torridge and North Devon, was elevated to the top legal role after his predecessor, Jeremy Wright QC, was appointed as secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

Cambridge grad Cox was called to the bar in 1982 and went on to co-found London’s Thomas More Chambers in 1992. According to the set’s website, Cox has appeared in many high profile cases before the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the Supreme Court.

His profile lists his areas of specialism as arbitration, commercial, crime, financial and regulatory crime, courts martial, public and human rights. The MP’s register of interests reveals that Cox, who took silk in 2003, has earned over £460,000 from legal work since August 2017.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

In 2016, the Standards Committee found Cox had breached a House of Commons rule after omitting to register £400,000 (11 payments) of outside earnings for legal work. The 58-year-old said he had not intended to hide the payments and blamed the ill-health retirement of his head clerk for the “oversight”.

Meanwhile, ex-Linklaters lawyer Dominic Raab has been appointed as the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union following the resignation of David Davis.

Raab, who studied law at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, joined Linklaters as a trainee in 2000. Having completed his training contract, the MP for Esher and Walton joined the legal department of the Foreign Office. Raab’s appointment means that there are now three ex-City lawyers in May’s cabinet. He joins justice secretary David Gauke (ex-Macfarlanes) and local government secretary James Brokenshire (ex-Jones Day).

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