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Ex-magic circle heavyweight takes up ministerial role at MoJ

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Barrister Sir Christopher Bellamy QC appointed parliamentary under secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice

Sir Christopher Bellamy QC

Former magic circle heavyweight Sir Christopher Bellamy QC has been appointed parliamentary under secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the government has confirmed.

Bellamy was a member of Monckton Chambers from 1970 to 1992, specialising in European, competition and regulatory law, before becoming a judge to the General Court of the European Union in 1992. He went on to set-up the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal — a judicial body which hears and decides cases involving competition or economic regulatory issues — and later joined Linklaters as a senior consultant.

Bellamy, 76, was appointed chairman of the firm’s global competition practice in 2011 but stepped down in 2020 to rejoin Monckton.

While a minister, Bellamy will not be accepting any work through the London set.

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In a statement the government said:

“The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Sir Christopher Bellamy QC as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice. Her Majesty has also been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Sir Christopher.”

The appointment follows the departure in April of fellow barrister Lord Wolfson in response to the “scale, context and nature” of breaches of Covid regulations in Downing Street. He has since rejoined One Essex Court.

Legal Cheek readers will recognise Bellamy as the author of the independent review into the criminal legal aid budget. The top barrister recommended, among other things, a cash injection of £135 million a year as a “minimum” first step to “nursing” the system back to health after “years of neglect”.

Although the government accepted the key recommendation, criminal barristers continue to adopt a policy of ‘no-returns‘ — not accepting cases that are returned by colleagues who have a diary clash — arguing the increase in fees under the new proposals will “not be sufficient to retain enough criminal barristers to keep the wheels of justice turning”.

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24 Comments

No

The guy is a QC but LegalCheek write ex MC, clawing at some form of relevance to their platform.

(33)(2)

Confused

Why would the fact he’s a QC not be relevant to a legal website?

(0)(8)

L

QC ranks higher than being ex magic circle, yet magic circle was chosen for the headline (hence my comment). Presumably because LegalCheek identify most closely with commercial law firms in their coverage, although they often report on anything with a legal connotation

(32)(3)

Silky Smooth

Yeah, but you still clicked on it didn’t you? Hold this L pls x

(5)(1)

Ex-Lawyer

Ah, another lazy generalisation. QC doesn’t automatically rank higher than magic circle partner. With (maybe) the exception of litigation, they’re not even comparable beasts. And come on, Mr or Mrs Criminal QC pulling in £180k with a degree from Leeds Poly is very different to somebody from a top commercial / chancery set.

And ranked according to what? Money, legal knowledge…something else? No doubt this guy is a more skilled legal mind than most magic circle partners, but the comparison doesn’t really make sense.

(0)(6)

Confused

How’s does ‘QC’ rank higher than heading up a department at one of the world’s largest law firms? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just keen to know your assessment criteria. Is this all QC’s? Or just commercial ones?

(21)(6)

Old Guy

I just ignored that comment. Anyone who says ‘QC ranks higher than MC’ is clearly a teenager still playing top trumps and collecting football stickers. Not even worthy of consideration.

(13)(9)

I HaVe gOuD AtTenTiOn tO DeTiAl

“ later joined Linklaters as a senior consultant”

Where did he head up what you describe? QC is an accurate descriptor of what he does now, rather than his brief stint working at a firm.

(1)(0)

Tut tut

You didn’t read the next sentence did you?

“Bellamy, 76, was appointed chairman of the firm’s global competition practice in 2011”

(6)(1)

Mint

looooool self own

Don’t take the piss and then get caught out like this

(1)(1)

Get real

Count the number of magic circle law firm partners and the number of QCs and that’ll tell you everything you need to know

(5)(1)

And

Good to see the young getting a chance.

Cut education spending, up student debt, tax workers more, shelter rental income from tax rises, spending increases on the NHS and upping pensions by the ever-spiralling triple lock. The generational bias of Boris is pretty obvious.

(12)(0)

QCINDAHood

Bantz

(0)(0)

Name

Anyone comparing seniority of QCs to MC partners is very childish.

(4)(1)

Not childish

You smell.

(1)(1)

Truedat

MC partners can apply for silk. Very few get it.

(3)(0)

Anon

Being a QC is plainly more pretigious than being an MC partner. You get Silk by demonstrating a powerful intellect, first rate black letter legal skills, and the ability to argue your cases before the toughest courts and tribunals. If you are a contentious MC partner, you wine and dine clients, then delegate all the work to counsel and sit at the back of court, taking notes; if you are a non-contentious MC partner, you wine and dine clients, never encounter the law, and just cobble together cookie cutter documents on deals.

(10)(2)

Random passer-by

So a criminal law or family law QC based up in Newcastle or Southampton has achieved something more noteworthy than a competition law solicitor in Freshfields/Slaughters etc.? These comparisons are meaningless and childish as they do not compare like for like.

(3)(6)

Anon

Yes, by definition, a criminal law or family law QC based up in Newcastle or Southampton has achieved something more noteworthy than a competition law solicitor in Freshfields/Slaughters etc. You will understand why this is so when you have left university.

(8)(0)

Noanon

No one in money law at either side of the profession thinks this. You will understand why this is so if you ever make it.

(2)(6)

Anon

Jun 10 2022 10:58am: everyone in either side of the profession – whether money law or otherwise – thinks this. You will understand why this is so if you ever make it.

Noanon

I made it a long time ago. You better pass that law degree, Anon, because your comedy material is not going to fund a mortgage.

Anon

Jun 10 2022 4:21pm: the only person spouting comedy material here is you. When you leave university, you will understand why.

Anon

So true, and this is well known. Solicitors just manage cases. Barristers are actual lawyers. QCs in any area of practice are the professional superiors of solicitors.

(3)(0)

Comments are closed.

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