In light of BBC one’s documentary on the killing of Mark Duggan, Lawcommonroom caught up with the barrister that represented Mark Duggan’s family.
Dr Leslie Thomas QC is a family barrister at Garden Court Chambers. He is a leading expert in claims against the police and has represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been an abuse of state or corporate power. He has expertise across the full spectrum of civil rights, human rights and privacy claims.
In this exclusive interview, he tells Lawcommonroom what he has been up to since the case…
Lawcommonroom: You are an award-winning human rights barrister who has been involved in many notable cases in the past 20 years. To what do you credit your success?
Leslie: Having loving and caring parents. A supportive family. Lots of hard work. Working with a supportive and understanding team of people and having a determination to never give up even when you have your back against a wall.
You have been with Garden Court Chambers for most of your professional life. What attracted to Garden Court?
I was attracted to the diversity of people that work there, which was very special for a barristers set of chambers. Also the fact that it is one of the most progressive chambers in the UK, doing great work challenging State abuses of power.
To what kind of work have you been exposed to?
Predominantly controversial deaths in State Custody, civil claims against State Authorities, and some public law, judicial review.
What have you found to be the challenges and advantages whilst practising?
The challenges have been many, difficult judges, difficult opponents, difficult clients and difficult cases. Especially when you get all 4 together. The advantages have been many as well, get job satisfaction, especially when you help someone who previously did not have a voice.
What is the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
When I was advised by Lord Gifford QC in 1990 to leave the commercial bar and join his set namely Wellington Street Chambers. I have never looked back.
What advice do you have for budding barristers considering a career at the Bar?
My advice would be to focus. Have a plan in advance. Think it through. Don’t let others put you off. Believe in yourself. But also be realistic. If you don’t have a particular skill set that you need. Then acquire it or change the plan.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Playing tenor saxophone. Training, I do lots of Cross fit type training. Studying languages and travelling.
Now for some quick-fire questions!
- If you weren’t a Lawyer, what would you be? Jazz musician
- Must-check everyday website? The Guardian
- Dream holiday destination? Buenos Aires – I would love to learn the Tango there.