Legal experts want to know why Dominic Cummings' pal sat on Supreme Court legal team

PUBLISHED: 16:30 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 30 September 2019

Media gathered outside The Supreme Court in London. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

Media gathered outside The Supreme Court in London. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Legal experts are wondering how a newly-qualified barrister and former Dominic Cummings associate was drafted to help fight the government's Supreme Court case.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

Barrister Richard Howell was taken onto the government's legal team for the landmark case before he had even completed his pupillage, reports The Lawyer.

Howell, who was taken on by law firm Brick Court in September, is a former Vote Leave policy analyst where he worked closely with then-campaign director Dominic Cummings.

The appointment of Howell to the government's team to fight a case in the highest court in the land has raised eyebrows amongst legal commentators.

One told The New European: "Most non-crime barristers at that stage are more typically finding they get sent to a tribunal case in Watford or to a low-value immigration hearing, rather than the Supreme Court."

According to The Lawyer, Howell was chosen over hundreds of others listed on official procurement panels organised in three tiers, and whose least experienced members have between two and five years' experience.

The government's website states that "work should go to panel lawyers", and that those lawyers be appointed "solely on merit".

However, this is not a hard and fast rule and there is still room for an off-panel lawyer to be appointed with the attorney general's direct approval.

Although a loophole - based on Howell's 'junior junior' status - meant that attorney general's approval wasn't strictly necessary, Geoffrey Cox is reported to have greenlit the appointment.

A senior barrister told The Lawyer that Howell's appointment "rides roughshod through all of the government guidelines about instructing barristers based on merit".

Patrick O'Connor QC, at Doughty Street Chambers, told The Lawyer that it was "suprising".

He said: "On what I have been told, the process of this appointment to the prime minister's counsel

team, in such a sensitive case, is surprising, and calls for explanation."

Howell features in Dominic Cummings' blog as "Ricardo", one of several people to whom Cummings attributes Vote Leave's success.

In a submission to the Electoral Commission, Vote Leave described Howell as a "committed opponent of the UK's membership of the EU".

The New European has approached Brick Court Chambers for comment.

You may also want to watch:

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest anti-Brexit campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy