Revealed: The top barristers by Supreme Court appearances
Academic Dr Mikołaj Barczentewicz crunches the numbers to compile lawyer league table
Research has revealed the identity of the top 20 barristers in the UK by Supreme Court appearances.
The government’s go-to brief Sir James Eadie QC tops the list of appearances over the past decade, followed by Richard Drabble QC of Landmark Chambers and Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Court Chambers (now a High Court judge).
Lord Pannick QC comes in fourth, but easily tops a similar list of appearances over the past 50 years.
Four of the 20 are women, according to Dr Mikołaj Barczentewicz, who compiled this ‘Barristers Premier League’ while researching gender balance in Supreme Court appearances.
Top 20 barristers by Supreme Court appearances, 2011-2020 inclusive
|1.||65||Sir James Eadie QC||Blackstone|
|2.||28||Richard Drabble QC||Landmark|
|3.||24||Martin Chamberlain QC||Brick Court (now a judge)|
|24||Lord Pannick QC||Blackstone|
|24||Hugh Southey QC||Matrix|
|4.||22||Michael Fordham QC||Blackstone (now a judge)|
|5.||20||Jason Coppel QC||11KBW|
|6.||19||Karon Monaghan QC||Matrix|
|7.||18||Dinah Rose QC||Blackstone|
|18||Aidan O’Neill QC||Ampersand Advocates/Matrix|
|8.||17||Lord Keen QC||Axiom Advocates/Blackstone|
|17||Jonathan Swift QC||11KBW (now a judge)|
|9.||16||Ben Jaffey QC||Blackstone|
|16||Jonathan Crow QC||4 Stone Buildings|
|16||Henry Setright QC||4PB|
|16||Robin Tam QC||Temple Garden|
|10.||15||Robin Allen QC||Cloisters|
|11.||14||Nathalie Lieven QC||Blackstone (formerly Landmark, now a judge)|
|14||Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC||Doughty Street|
|14||Jude Bunting||Doughty Street|
|Source: Dr Mikołaj Barczentewicz, University of Surrey. More data at https://courts.barczentewicz.com/.|
He found that women now account for 25% of barristers arguing before the Supremes and rising. That compares with women making up 36% of barristers (in England and Wales).
But, Barczentewicz says, “the gender balance among the more senior counsel is not as good and has not been clearly improving over the most recent years”.
That makes it all the more important for the top QCs to give women experience as juniors in Supreme Court cases.
Of the top 20 listed above, those most likely to bring women in as juniors were Ben Jaffey QC (67% female juniors), Robin Allen QC (63%), Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC (56%), Mike Fordham QC (55%), Karon Monaghan QC (55%) and Robin Tam QC (53%).
There’s also a league table covering 1970-2020, with Pannick the runaway winner on 124 appearances. Dinah Rose QC is the only woman in that list.
Read on to learn what I found out about gender and seniority in the UK’s “Supreme Court bar” based on my new dataset covering:
📚 2,714 judgments of the UK’s highest court(s) from 1970 to 2020 and
👩💼 over 5,000 (mostly) barristers involved in those cases.
— Mikołaj Barczentewicz (@MBarczentewicz) March 2, 2021
Barczentewicz works at the Law and Technology Hub at University of Surrey School of Law. His Supreme Court gender project involved writing thousands of lines of code to link the names on court judgments to barrister records databases.