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St Philips feature in Birmingham Post ‘Midland Circuit – Leading Barrister Sets’

St Philips, advocates of excellence in the heart of Birmingham

As St Philips celebrates its 20th anniversary, the chambers has enjoyed an unprecedented number of judicial appointments.

The six appointments, three Circuit Judges, two District Judges and a First-tier Tribunal Judge, reflect St Philips’ exceptional pedigree and the existence of a supportive environment that inspires sector-leading expertise and skills.

The approach informs the selection, recruitment and training of the very best pupils as well as the ongoing career development of the most senior practitioners.

From pupillage through to its barristers taking Silk and judicial appointments, St Philips is an advocate of excellence across the board.

Judicial diversity statistics published this month show about half of judges aged under 50 are now female. St Philips is contributing to this trend with four of its six appointments being women.

The quartet includes crime specialist Heidi Kubik QC and care specialist Ros Carter, who have both been appointed as Circuit Judges. Judge Kubik QC was formerly joint head of the Criminal Group.

Judge Carter served as Head of Pupillage and Recruitment, and latterly Chair of Chambers Management Committee.

Two further female members of Chambers have been appointed as District Judges including employment specialist Rosa Dickinson, who at just 34 years old became one of the youngest judges ever to be appointed.

Also appointed was Louise McCabe. District Judge McCabe had been joint head of the Financial Remedies Team at St Philips.

Twenty years on, the challenge for St Philips is to remain innovative and competitive in an ever-growing market. – Joe Wilson

Members of St Philips Chambers have been instrumental in the work of the Bar Council’s Diversity Committee and have been at the forefront of cultural change; including, most recently, the creation of the Midland Circuit Women’s Forum.

Chambers was also delighted that John Edwards, a specialist crime practitioner for more than 30 years, was appointed a Circuit Judge. St Philips has a particular reason to be grateful to Judge Edwards as he came up with the name for Chambers. Finally, St Philips was pleased to see employment law specialist Sean O’Brien become a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal assigned to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

It is fitting that this bumper crop of judicial appointments should coincide with St Philips’ 20th anniversary, which presents a timely opportunity for reflection, as well as looking to the future.

St Philips was founded in 1998 by the merger of No 7 Fountain Court and No 2 Fountain Court, and has gone on to become one of the largest and most successful multi-disciplinary sets in the country

Initially based in Fountain Court, St Philips moved to modern, purpose-built premises in the heart of the Colmore Business District, opposite St Philip’s Cathedral, in January 2001. This move placed Chambers at the centre of Birmingham’s wider professional services community.

Through a strategic merger with No 1 Fountain Court and organic growth, the set has seen the number of barristers rise from 98 to 140.

Joe Wilson, St Philips’ Director of Clerking, said: “Twenty years on, the challenge for St Philips is to remain innovative and competitive in an ever-growing market in Birmingham.

“St Philips’ reputation as the Birmingham barristers is second to none in 2018, just like in 1998. We welcome competition because it keeps us on our toes and reminds us of the need to continually look at the way that we deliver our services to existing and prospective clients.”

The set’s outstanding expertise, knowledge and multi-disciplinary approach makes it an ideal training ground for the best new talent. St Philips offers specialist pupillages with a competitive pupillage award.

Andrew Smith QC, Head of Chambers, said: “St Philips takes it responsibilities with training, developing and supporting barristers at all levels extremely seriously. I am immensely proud of the culture we have created at St Philips.”

St Philips is the first chambers in the country to join forces with a charity, Chaplaincy Plus, to offer support to its members and staff on the important topic of wellbeing.

Mr Smith added: “We have consistently demonstrated that this is the set to be in for barristers wishing to work in a collegiate atmosphere that encourages individuals’ abilities to work at the highest possible level.”

A full digital version of ‘Midland Circuit – Leading Barrister Sets’ from Birmingham Post can be found here.

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