Legal Business

Matrix Chambers clears Ben Emmerson QC after investigation into sexual assault allegations


Matrix Chambers has concluded an investigation into top silk Ben Emmerson QC following allegations of sexual assault during his work on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and found he did not commit any act of sexual assault or harassment. 

Emmerson (pictured) was the subject of allegations on BBC Newsnight in October that said a female member of staff had been assaulted by the lawyer, who was lead counsel on the inquiry at the time.

Matrix Chambers launched an internal investigation into the claims and the management committee instructed former Director of Public Prosecutions and retired High Court Judge Sir David Calvert-Smith to investigate the allegations.

In a statement, Matrix Chambers said: ‘After examining the evidence, Sir David submitted his final report to the management committee earlier this week. In his report Sir David concluded “without hesitation” that Mr Emmerson had not committed any act of sexual assault or sexual harassment.’

The statement added there was no case of professional misconduct to report to the Bar Standards Board.

Emmerson resigned from the IICSA on 29 September after initial media reports that he had been suspended. The QC instructed Bindmans to respond to the allegations.

Last month, MPs of the Home Affairs Select Committee called on the inquiry to select a new lead counsel almost two months after Emmerson’s exit. A number of other key lawyers for the inquiry have also resigned, including Hugh Davies QC of Three Raymond Buildings, Landmark Chambers Toby Fisher and Matrix Chambers Elizabeth Prochaska.

The IICSA is currently organising 13 investigations into allegations of historic child sexual abuse. Fieldfisher partner Martin Smith is acting as solicitor to the inquiry.

For more on the process of public inquiries, see ‘Watching the watchmen – at the sharp end with the lawyers on public inquiries’


Legal Business

Revolving doors: Addleshaws and Hogan Lovells boost ranks as Matrix targets Freshfields and Olswang construction head exits


In a busy week for laterals, Addleshaw Goddard, Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have boosted their international ranks, while Matrix Chambers and Penningtons Manches have hired in the City.

Addleshaws has developed its Asia corporate focus with the hire of Andrew Yang in Hong Kong. Yang, who joins Addleshaws from Goodwin Procter, advises on all aspects of M&A and commercial transactions for small to medium enterprises, listed companies, venture/growth funds and other financial institutions based throughout the Asian region.

Nigel Francis, head of Addleshaws’ Asia practice said: ‘The continuation of outbound investment from Chinese organisations as well as the promised economic reform that will ultimately lead to investment in China’s state owned enterprises represent exciting future opportunities. Andrew’s experience aligns perfectly with these plans and means our Asia practice will be well placed to capitalise as these opportunities arise.’

Meanwhile Hogan Lovells has continued its Australia expansion with the hire of Matthew Johnson, who joins the firm from Clayton Utz. Johnson, who was closely involved with Clayton’s China practice, will focus on private and public M&A, private equity, equity capital markets and corporate advisory in addition to working with the firm’s energy and resources sector teams.

Closer to home, HSF has bolstered its Paris offering, hiring real estate partner David Lacaze from Paul Hastings. Lacaze’s clients include financial institutions and investment funds. Donald Rowlands, head of HSF real estate UK/EMEA said: ‘The addition of David to our Paris team will be crucial to helping us deliver on our ambitious plans for the growth of our European real estate practice and will complement the investments we have made in Germany and Madrid to augment our top-tier UK and French practices.’ However, going the other way, HSF lost two associates and a special counsel to White & Case down under, following the US firm’s 10 partner hire to launch in Australia, earlier this year. HSF senior associates Adeline Pang and Ged Cochrane, and of counsel Michelle Keen will be made up to partner when they join White & Case later this year.

In the City, Penningtons Manches has expanded its construction and infrastructure practice with the addition of Francis Ho from Olswang.

Ho was head of construction at the firm. Recent deals include the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, the construction of a major new Premier League stadium in London and the redevelopment of The Langham Hotel in Marylebone.

Finally, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has lost two high-profile names this week. In addition to the departure of M&A partner Ben Spiers to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Matrix Chambers hired Raj Parker, head of the firm’s insurance and reinsurance team as an associate member.

David Scott, partner at Freshfields said: ‘Whilst he is retiring from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, he is not retiring full stop, as he is going to return to the Bar and he will practice at Matrix Chambers. I have no doubt that Raj will have a very interesting and varied mix of work whilst he is there and we wish him all the best for his future career around the corner at Matrix Chambers.

Legal Business

Bar shuffles: Matrix hires media silk Millar from Doughty Street


High-profile silk Gavin Millar QC is set to join Matrix Chambers from Doughty Street in a bid to enhance its media, employment and sports law teams.

Set to join tomorrow (3 December), Millar’s move has been announced just days after appearing at London’s High Court to represent The Sun in the controversial ‘Plebgate’ libel case between the tabloid newspaper and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip.

Millar typically undertakes defamation, privacy, contempt and reporting restriction cases and acts for most of the UK major media organisations. Other recent case work includes representing the Telegraph Media Group at the Leveson Inquiry and acting for former News of the World investigator Glenn Mulcaire in the high-profile criminal phone-hacking litigation at the Old Bailey this year.

Matrix, which ranks tier one in business and regulatory crime and public international law in The Legal 500, also announced the appointment of prominent silk Nicholas Randall QC from Devereux Chambers last month, with the aim of building further in areas of employment, sports and pensions law.

The Bar has been particularly fluid of late, as evidenced last week by the hire of silk Steven Gee QC, who serves as the current head of Stone Chambers, to disputes boutique Joseph Hage Aaronson. Recent significant entrants includes Nicholas Fletcher QC, who has led Berwin Leighton Paisner’s international arbitration practice for five years, who resigned from the firm to join 4 New Square while Olswang arbitration chief Andrew Aglionby is also set to leave for the Bar.