Lord Pannick QC
- Called to Bar:
- Appointed to silk:
- Practice areas:
- MA (Oxon), BCL (Oxon)
Lord Pannick QC's practice covers a broad range of areas including Public law & Human Rights, Media & Entertainment, Employment & Discrimination, Sports law, EU & Competition, including the European Convention on Human Rights, Professional Discipline and Telecommunications. Much of his work has a Public law & Human Rights dimension and a selection of some significant cases are given below, under this heading.
Chambers UK 2013
Lord Pannick QC is rated as a leading silk in ten practice areas and is recognised as one of its “stars at the bar.”
- Star at the Bar – “is an extraordinary and impressive advocate” ... “go-to barrister for when you have a case that requires you to pull out all the stops, and when you simply have to select the best of the best” ... “an astonishingly leading counsel and a wonderful speech maker” ... “you can have complete assurance in his intellect and his strategic approach” ... “has the aura of a mega star” ... “is as authoritative as you can get at the Bar” ... “a deceptively understated style of advocacy; he is almost conversational at times, yet his manner of address brings an understanding that he is an absolute master of the case”
- Administration & Public Law – ‘Star’ ranking ... “absolutely brilliant” ... “has the aura of a megastar” ... “clients like him because they can understand him”
- Civil Liberties & Human Rights – another area where David received a ‘Star’ ranking – “astonishing leading counsel and wonderful speechmaker” ... “you can have complete assurance in his intellect and his strategic approach”
- Employment – “incredibly impressive”
- EU & Competition: Competition and EU & Competition: EU Law – “as good as it gets” ... “incredibly impressive” ... "fantastically persuasive, succinct, very client-friendly and able to give clear and very high-quality advice”
- Immigration & Nationality – “the best public lawyer in the country”
- Media & Entertainment – “in the very select category of people at the Bar who are truly authoritative” ... “is extremely knowledgeable, sees the big picture and is very pragmatic”
- Professional Discipline – “titan of the public law world”... “his intellect and the clarity of his advocacy are second to none, and beyond that he is a great client man”
- Sport – “truly awesome intellect” ... he is one of the absolute leading lights of the Bar, and someone who brings gravitas to a major case”
- Telecommunications – “undeniably a doyen of the TMT Bar, whose name is a byword for authoritative and persuasive advocacy”
Legal 500 2012
Lord Pannick QC is ranked as a ‘Leading Silk’ in eight areas:
- Administrative and Public law – “wonderful”
- Commercial Litigation - recommended
- Employment – recommended
- EU & Competition – “the complete package”
- Human Rights and Civil Liberties – recommended
- Immigration & Nationality – “leading silk”
- Media, Entertainment and Sport – “intellectually outstanding ... provides practical advice”
- Professional Discipline and Regulatory law – recommended
The Times Law 100 2012, listing the most influential lawyers in Britain, ranked Lord Pannick QC in 10th place. “Described by one judge as ‘leader of the crossbenchers’ and as having ‘incredible influence’ in Parliament, it could almost be overlooked that Lord Pannick is one of the country’s most powerful advocates”.
In November 2008, he became a Life Peer, sitting on the crossbenches, while continuing in full-time practice at the Bar.
Junior Counsel to the Crown (Common Law) 1988-1992
Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, since 1978
Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford since September 2004
Administrative Law Bar Association
Member of the Editorial Board of Public Law
Member of the Constitution Committee of the House of Lords since 2009
Public Law and Human Rights
Current and recent work
- Represented the Crown in the Supreme Court in establishing that MPs and a Peer being prosecuted for alleged dishonesty in the claiming of Parliamentary expenses were not entitled to Parliamentary privilege.
- Representing Max Mosley in the European Court of Human Rights in a claim that the United Kingdom failed to protect his right to private life in that The News of the World had no duty to give him prior notification of an article before publication so he could seek and obtain an injunction.
- Acted for Prudential in the Supreme Court in a claim that legal professional privilege extends to legal advice on tax law from accountants.
- Representing Mikhail Khodorkovsky in his claims in the European Court of Human Rights that his treatment by the Russian Government, including his two criminal trials, has been in violation of his fundamental rights.
- Appeared in the first hearing in the new Supreme Court in October 2009 on behalf of JFS, a school being sued by a boy seeking admission.
- Acting for Debbie Purdy who established that the DPP has a duty to publish guidelines concerning his power to prosecute those who help relatives to go abroad for an assisted suicide. This was the last judgment in the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords in July 2009, before the opening of the new Supreme Court.
- Representing AF, a person subject to a control order because of alleged involvement in terrorist activities. Nine Law Lords held in June 2009 that he was entitled to know the essence of the allegations against him.
- Acting for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in the European Court of Human Rights in establishing that it was not a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights for the police to cordon off demonstrators in Oxford Circus for several hours during the May Day 2001 demonstrations.
- Acting for Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay in establishing in the Court of Appeal that the Seneschal of Sark could not lawfully sit as a judge in Sark and also as the presiding office in the Sark legislature.
- Representing the British Olympic Committee in resisting the lifelong ban on athletes competing at the Olympic Games by reason of an earlier doping offence.
- Appearing for the pharmaceutical company, Eisai, in persuading the Court of Appeal that NICE acted in a procedurally unfair manner and so unlawfully in refusing to provide on the NHS drugs for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Lord Pannick appeared in 100 cases in the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords (before it was replaced by the new Supreme Court), and has argued more than 25 cases in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and over 30 cases in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
He has acted in a large number of the leading public law cases of the last 25 years :
- In Spycatcher, he acted for The Sunday Times
- He represented Tiny Rowland and Lonrho plc in the battle with Mohammed Al-Fayed concerning the take-over of Harrods.
- In ex parte Bentley, he persuaded the Divisional Court on behalf of Iris Bentley that the Home Secretary should give a posthumous pardon to her brother, Derek Bentley, for his execution in 1953.
- He acted in the European Court of Human Rights for the gay servicemen who established that it was a breach of their human rights to exclude gays from the military : Lustig-Prean v United Kingdom.
- He represented the Home Secretary in successfully establishing in the House of Lords the legality of the whole life tariff for Myra Hindley, the Moors Murderer.
- He acted for the Home Secretary in the domestic courts and in the European Court of Human Rights in proceedings brought by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the boys who murdered the infant James Bulger, challenging their sentences of detention during Her Majesty's pleasure.
- He represented the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority in the case brought by Diane Blood who wished to be impregnated with the sperm of her dead husband, and in the House of Lords case which established the right of parents to obtain fertility treatment to have a child so cells from the umbilical cord could assist their severely ill son ("the designer baby case").
- He successfully represented the BBC in the Divisional Court in resisting the contention that the Director-General had committed the criminal offence of blasphemy by broadcasting "Jerry Springer - The Opera". (Following the judgment, Parliament decided to abolish the criminal offence of blasphemy).
- He acted for Camelot in its successful judicial review challenge to the National Lottery Commission in 2000.
His clients have included:
- The Queen - winning an injunction in the High Court to restrain The Daily Mirror from publishing further allegations about her home life by a reporter who had gained employment as a footman.
- Greg Rusedski - at a tennis tribunal in Montreal, defeating allegations that he was guilty of a doping office.
- Ann Marie Rogers - who established in the Court of Appeal her right to be provided with the breast cancer drug, Herceptin.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - in establishing in the House of Lords that state immunity applies to claims alleging torture.
- The League Against Cruel Sports - in successfully resisting the challenge to the Hunting Act 2004.
- Sheptonhurst Ltd - who defeated the British Board of Film Classification in establishing the right to buy, in licensed sex shops, videos of "Nympho Nurse Nancy" and "Horny Catbabe", and so substantially liberalising the laws on censorship of explicit sexual material.
He has also appeared in court for a wide range of other clients, from the Revd Moon to the Chief Rabbi, from Red Hot Television to the Lord Chancellor, from Diana Princess of Wales to Lord Rees-Mogg.
In Strasbourg, he has appeared in cases (for and against the United Kingdom Government) raising issues on the rights of transsexuals, sadomasochists, gypsies and many others. He acted for Greece in resisting the claim brought by former King Constantine for the return of property, and he represented Cyprus in relation to human rights abuses by Turkey in Northern Cyprus.
He has appeared in a large number of cases in the courts of Hong Kong, and in the courts of Brunei, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar.
Other relevant experience
Judicial Review of the Death Penalty (1982, Duckworth)
Sex Discrimination Law (1985, Oxford University Press)
Judges (1987, Oxford University Press)
Advocates (1992, Oxford University Press)
Human Rights Law and Practice (general editor with Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, Butterworths, October 1999 and second edition March 2004). The third edition was published in May 2009 (general editor with Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC and Javan Herberg).
A fortnightly legal column in The Times (since 1991)
VAT registration number: 245780151