Encouraging greater participation of junior counsel in courts and tribunals hearings

Cross JurisdictionalChancellor of the High CourtDame Victoria SharpLady Chief JusticeMaster of the RollsPresident of the Family DivisionPresident of the King's Bench DivisionSenior President of TribunalsSir Andrew McFarlaneSir Geoffrey VosSir Julian FlauxSir Keith LindblomNews

Allowing junior counsel to participate in oral argument supports their continuing development as advocates. There is also anecdotal evidence, supported by empirical data from a Supreme Court study, that women are under-represented as leading advocates, especially in major civil and Business and Property Courts litigation.

It is desirable therefore to give junior counsel in general, and female junior counsel in particular, better opportunities to advance oral argument in courts and tribunals.

It is acknowledged that this will not always be possible, and will depend upon the nature of the argument and the length of the hearing. However in all suitable cases involving leading and junior counsel, particularly where junior counsel has been heavily involved in the drafting of the written argument, judges will be expected to ask whether a speaking part for junior counsel has been considered, and will generally be amenable to both junior and leading counsel addressing the court or tribunal (junior counsel may for example, deal with intermediate points in the principal argument).  In cases where this issue is likely to arise therefore, the parties should consider it in advance of the commencement of the oral argument.

Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill
Lady Chief Justice of England & Wales

Sir Geoffrey Vos
Master of the Rolls

Dame Victoria Sharp
President of the King’s Bench Division

Sir Andrew McFarlane
President of the Family Division

Sir Julian Flaux
Chancellor of the High Court

Sir Keith Lindblom
Senior President of Tribunals

8 November 2023