At what stage in your career did you take on your first pro bono case?  

As a very junior counsel in the early 1990s, I took on death row cases from the Caribbean on appeals to the Pricy Council against conviction and sentence for murder. The most significant one where I was a junior was Pratt and Morgan v AG of Jamaica in 1993 which decided that those on death row could not be executed if they had been waiting for more than five years which resulted in hundreds of prisoners being reprieved. 

Why did you decide to undertake pro bono work?  

I think it is an essential part pf my duty as a barrister to seek to ensure that those who would otherwise not be eligible for legal representation, primarily as they are not eligible for legal aid and do not have sufficient funds, will still have access to justice. 

What was the most memorable case you worked on, and what did you do?  

Pratt and Morgan  as above, and also Secretary of State for the Home Department v Banger – C-89/17; [2019] UKUT 00194(IAC) where I was leading counsel which was a reference to the CJEU which resulted in the successful determination of equal rights for unmarried partners of British nationals as extended family members, and Hunt v AB [2008] EWHC 2724 [QB]; [2009] EWCA Civ 1092 (CA) where I was successful leading counsel in the High Court for a Defendant in a malicious prosecution claim brought against a woman who claimed to be a rape victim, who was subject to an unprecedented claim by her alleged rapist which was upheld in the Court of Appeal. 

What effect did pro bono work have on your career?  

I think it was helpful, which might seem superficially paradoxical, as I believe it emphasised my desire to assist those people in more marginalised situations. It also covered different fields, primarily civil and immigration, which may have demonstrated my width of practice, but in truth, I didn’t take this work to assist my practice more generally. I have been honoured and privileged to have been awarded pro bono silk of the year in 2019 and 2021 and was also Highly Commended in 2020.  

What is the most rewarding thing about doing pro bono work?  

The sense of satisfaction when justice has been done for my clients in their favour. 

What advice would you give to any barrister unsure about whether to start doing pro bono work?  

I would strongly recommend it. It is so rewarding and fulfilling. I am so happy to report that many of the juniors in my Chambers have taken on a lot of pro bono work, which has been widely recognised.