Meet the Speakers
Sir Patrick Elias
(Former judge of the Court of Appeal)
Sir Patrick Elias QC was a judge of the Court of Appeal between 2009 and 2017. Prior to that he was President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from January 2006 to December 2008; he had been a judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, since 1999. He was educated at Cardiff High School, the University of Exeter and King’s College, Cambridge, where he took a PhD. Between 1973 and 1984 he was a fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and from 1975 to 1984 was a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, teaching a variety of subjects, specialising in particular in labour law. He wrote extensively in that field, including a book on internal trade union law. He was called to the Bar, Inner Temple in 1973, took up practice in 1983 and became a QC in 1990.
James Maurici QC
James Maurici QC was called to the Bar in 1996. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013. He has appeared in a number of high profile public law cases including: R (Shoesmith) v Ofsted and Others  P.T.S.R. 1459; R (Bradley) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions  Q.B. 114; Livingstone v Adjudication Panel for England  H.R.L.R. 45; R v Bow Street Magistrate, ex p. Pinochet (No. 2)  1 A.C. 119 and the Alconbury litigation  2 A.C. 295. James is currently acting for the Government on six judicial reviews brought in relation to the Airports NPS which supports a third runway at Heathrow. James has particular experience in cases involving the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and other public sector ombudsmen. James was a founder of Judicial Review (Taylor & Francis) with Michael Fordham QC in 1996 and acted as assistant editor and then co-editor for over 20 years. He is now a consultant editor.
Tom Hickman QC
Tom Hickman QC regularly acts in public law cases both for and against the Government. He has acted in many high profile cases throughout his career, ranging from the Guantanamo Bay litigation, the Binyam Mohamed case, Watson & Tele2, and both Miller cases, acting for Gina Miller as junior counsel to Lord Pannick QC. He most recently acted for Shamima Begum in her deprivation of citizenship appeal. Tom is Standing Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) which regulates the use of surveillance powers by law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the UK and a lecturer at University College London. He regularly writes and blogs on legal issues. Tom was named in the country’s “Hot 100” lawyers by The Lawyer magazine in 2017 and as a junior was ranked as the “star practitioner” by Chambers & Partners for both administrative law and civil liberties. Tom took silk in 2019.
Philippe Sands QC
(Matrix Chambers and University College London)
Philippe Sands QC is a barrister at Matrix Chambers and Professor of Laws and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London. He appears as counsel and advocate before many international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of Sea, the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court. He is the author of numerous books including East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (2016) which has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.
Professor Jason Varuhas
(University of Melbourne)
Professor Jason NE Varuhas is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne. He is also an Associate Fellow of the University of Cambridge Centre for Public Law. He was formerly Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Junior Research Fellow, Christ’s College and Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. He has published widely in the fields of public law, tort law and remedies, and his work has been cited by courts in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. His book Damages and Human Rights (Hart Publishing) was awarded the 2016 UK Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the 2018 Inner Temple New Authors Book Prize.
Stephen Knafler QC
Stephen Knafler QC practices across the whole area of public law and also undertakes property, planning and commercial cases. He has appeared as an advocate at all levels of the judicial system, including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. In addition Stephen also advises public authorities, regulators, individuals and commercial operators on policy issues that arise across the whole of public law.
Clare Collier is Advocacy Director at Liberty. Clare oversees Liberty’s strategic litigation, policy work and campaigns, and our advice and information teams, who all work together to protect rights and hold the powerful to account. Prior to joining Liberty in July 2019, Clare was Legal Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has specialised in human rights, equality, and public law litigation, advisory and policy work since qualifying as a solicitor in 2002.
Richard Drabble QC
Richard Drabble QC was called to the Bar in 1975 and took silk in 1995. He is a Bencher of Inner Temple; a former Chairman of ALBA and a current member of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee. He practices in public law. He has appeared in many leading human rights and environmental cases. He appeared as (very) junior counsel in CCSU v Minister for the Civil Service (GCHQ. He acted for the government in connection with the decision to grant planning permission for Terminal 5 at Heathrow; with a judicial review challenge to the Airports White Paper; and resisting a challenge by Greenpeace to consultation on nuclear policy. His practice has a particular emphasis on social security, immigration, environmental, planning, local government and human rights law. He has appeared at all levels of the domestic court system, including the Supreme Court and House of Lords. He has also appeared before the ECtHR in Strasbourg (for example in Chapman v UK; Stec v UK; and Tsfayo v UK) as well as the CJEU (for example Stewart v SSWP; Watson and others v SSHD Case C – 698/15). He appeared in Trinidad in Jones v AG in a successful constitutional challenge to the law criminalizing homosexual activity. He has recently appeared in the Supreme Court in cases raising important human rights issues, including KV (Sri Lanka) v SSHD; Kiarie v SSHD and IT (Jamaica) v SSHD. He is listed as a “Star of the Bar” in the current edition of Chambers Directory.
Zoë Leventhal is barrister at Matrix Chambers. She is a public law and human rights specialist, who is consistently instructed in high profile and complex cases both on her own and as a junior. She works both for claimants and government bodies across her areas of practice. She has particular expertise in relation to welfare benefits, health & community care, environmental law and regulatory judicial review, with her cases often raising discrimination issues. Zoë is a member of the Attorney General’s ‘A’ Panel of Counsel and of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel. Zoë has been involved in a number of important cases in her career to date including the recent Supreme Court litigation concerning the “benefit cap” (DA, DS and others v SSWP  UKSC 21), the challenge to the legality of NI abortion law (Re the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s application for Judicial Review  UKSC 27), the litigation establishing NHS England’s power to commission the HIV drug “PREP” (National Aids Trust v NHS England  1 WLR 1477) and the challenge to the lawfulness of legal aid provision for victims of domestic violence (Rights of Women v Lord Chancellor  1 WLR 2543). She is currently acting for the claimants in the first cases concerning the Universal Credit system to reach the Court of Appeal (TP & AR No 1  EWHC 1474 (Admin) and No 2  EWHC 1116 (Admin;  EWCA (forthcoming)).