Although 1 Crown Office Row is best known for its work on human rights and public law, the set offers a range of work across the entirety of civil law. Clinical negligence is a particular area of expertise.
In its 70 year history, the set has been a stepping stone to senior roles in the judiciary. Among its previous tenants, 1COR counts three former chairmen of the bar, four Lord Justices of Appeal, and the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Wolf. Today, the set is known for running the award-winning UK Human Rights Blog and Law Pod UK, a popular podcast. Though the blog was set up and ran by Adam Wagner, who has since moved to Doughty Street Chambers, it remains a recommended bookmark for anyone interested in the practice.
1 Crown Office Row has over 70 tenants, of whom 26 are QCs. Many of these silks have been involved in high profile cases. David Hart acted for the Care Quality Commission during the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs Hospital. Jeremy Hyam acted for Dr Bawa-Garba in the High Court about the doctor’s registration with General Medical Council. Angus McCullough QC was amicus curiae in the Rebekah Brooks phone hacking trial. He also acted for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) which sought to block arms sales from the UK to Saudi Arabia
Tenants in the junior ranks have similarly been involved in high profile litigation. Emma-Louise Fenelon represented many victims in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Hannah Noyce acted as junior counsel for victims who had unnecessary vasectomies at the hands of Dr Ian Paterson. Many tenants have been on panels for the Attorney General or the Treasury Department. Rookies rate the work they are given as very good, and normally spend between 50 to 59 hours on it each week.
The chambers runs a weekly tea for all members, which they describe as a “chance for everyone to flop down on sofas together for a while and chat about both important matters and trivia”. With the building having been recently refurbished, barristers at 1COR enjoy pleasant views overlooking Temple Gardens. “I literally have to walk through (and smell) the roses to get to work,” one member tells us.
Moving onto pupillages at the set. 1COR offers two pupillages a year, and also frequently offers third six pupillages. Pupils have four different supervisors throughout the year. In the first six rookies develop their written skills of advices and pleading, while in the second six the focus is on advocacy. One insider describes the A-rated training like this:
“The training made all the difference. Each pupil sits with four different supervisors, all specialising in a range of different work: clinical negligence, regulatory, public. The standard was impressive – three of my four supervisors have since took silk shortly after I took tenancy. Receiving constructive feedback forms after each piece of work I completed during pupillage meant I had a decent understanding of how I was performing as compared to my supervisor’s expectations. Our mock trial was hair-raising, but a great chance to demonstrate advocacy skills in front of other members of chambers.”
In an effort to help the bar become more diverse and representative, the set also runs an assessed mini-pupillage for over ten aspiring barristers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The vibe among colleagues is excellent. “We keep each other sane,” one tells us. Another adds: “The support and encouragement provided by other members of chambers and everyone’s willingness to give you their time if you need help with something is one of the standout features of 1COR.”
Out of 21 pupils and juniors with fewer than ten years call, only four did not attend either Oxford or Cambridge. Most have an impressive suite of academic awards and a top record of professional experience before commencing pupillage. For example, Emma-Louise Fenelon interned at the International Criminal Tribunal and worked on the Radovan Karadzic trial, while Charlotte Gilmartin was a judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger at the UK Supreme Court.