Introducing Deirdre Fottrell QC: Pro Bono QC of the Year 2018 and deputy High Court Judge


Deirdre Fottrell QC has been involved in fighting for children’s rights since the early stages of her career. Barrister at 1GC Family Law, Deirdre was nominated for her role in recent important family cases, leading from the front in encouraging barristers at all levels to take on pro bono cases. Having worked as a university lecturer before coming to the bar, Deirdre has both the academic and professional finesse to deserve the title of Pro Bono QC of the Year, setting the bar high for this year’s nominees.

“Deirdre is the whole package, and her academic ability and strategic ability are second to none” – Chambers UK 2019

In the recent case of Williams v The London Borough of Hackney, Deirdre acted pro bono as leading counsel for the appellants, which had a huge impact both on the clients and on the use of s20 Children Act 1989 as a whole. Deirdre even went as far as to make herself unavailable for paid work in preparation for this case, fully immersing herself in her pro bono work. Without this level of commitment, Deirdre’s clients simply would not have been able to proceed.

Deirdre has also been recognised for her role as leading counsel for the prospective Special Guardians in the case of Re B. Deirdre drafted an extensive skeleton argument and appeared in the Court of Appeal for five days in this case, earning praise for dedicating huge chunks of her time to pro bono. Sarah Morgan QC has described it as “entirely typical” of Deirdre to take on cases blending both personal family importance to the individual and wider public significance to the profession, all on a pro bono basis. In September 2018, Deirdre was appointed as a deputy High Court Judge in England and Wales, another noteworthy achievement of her impressive career to date. 

Pro Bono QC of the Year 2019 is kindly sponsored by Therium Access. The winner will be presented with their award at the Bar Pro Bono Awards on Wednesday 6th November in Pro Bono Week 2019. Nominations are now open: Enter here!