10 May 2013

A brief chat with HHJ Rosalind Coe QC and Frances Oldham QC

In this edition of Brief Chats, we speak with not one, but two guests! It’s an insightful chat about the practicalities of life at the Bar as the ladies open up about their respective careers, the challenges they have encountered and the satisfaction gained from some of the cases they’ve been involved with. Essential listening for all future barristers.

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Runtime: 31.04 minutes

Here is some information about our two guests:

HHJ Rosalind Coe QC (Polly)

After school in Reading, HHJ Rosalind Coe QC studied Law at Nottingham University and was called to the Bar in 1983.

She practised at Ropewalk Chambers in Nottingham from 1985 and moved to 7 Bedford Row in 2006. She became a Recorder in 2003 and took silk in 2008.

She was appointed to the Bench in 2011 and sits as a Circuit Judge at Sheffield Combined Court covering all three jurisdictions – crime, family and civil.

As a barrister Rosalind developed a civil, largely p.i. practice, doing RTAs and industrial disease work on behalf of both Claimants and Defendants and gained particular experience in Clinical and Professional Negligence cases.

Over the years she began to specialise in group litigation and multi-party actions representing the victims of historic child abuse in local authority care. 

Two notable cases were Lister v Hesley Hall [2001] 2 HL22, [2001] 2 WLR 1311 – the most important modern case on vicarious liability - and A. v Hoare [2008] UKHL 6 – which relates to limitation in actions for deliberate torts.

Rosalind is married with two children and started in pupillage when her daughter was three and her son was only three months old. She is now excited about becoming a grandmother for the first time in April. 

She is an expert in juggling family, professional and social life and is interested in music, holidays and the cinema. She plays both the saxophone and piano (badly).

Rosalind was Circuit Junior (Midland and Oxford Circuit) between 1991 and 1992 and was a member and then Chairman of the Nottingham Bar Mess for nearly twenty years. She has organised (and attended) very many social events for the Bar.

She was a member of the Personal Injuries Bar Association and the Nottinghamshire Medico-Legal Society.  She was Chairman of Chambers Pupillage Committee at Ropewalk Chambers and was an external examiner on the Bar Vocational course in Nottingham.

Throughout her legal career Rosalind has delivered lectures to legal and other professional bodies.

A keen member of the Middle Temple, she remains part of their advocacy training team and participates in their marshalling programme and attends and supports the Inn’s functions around the country.

Frances Oldham QC

Called 1977

Silk 1994

Law graduate Manchester
Post graduate Manchester business school sponsored by the NHS
3 years as senior manager at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge

Instrumental in causing 36 Bedford Row (Then 4 KBW) to be 1st Chambers to have a maternity policy

Former Head of Chambers at 36BR

Former leader Midland Circuit

Current member of Silk appointment committee

Sits as a Recorder and Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division) and on Mental Health Tribunal (restricted patients)

Bencher at Gray’s Inn 

Door tenant at KCH Garden Square, Nottingham and 37 Park Square, Leeds

Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500



Frances is regularly instructed in high profile cases and has substantial experience in Criminal and Family Law. She was recently sponsored by the Foreign and commonwealth Office to visit Palestine and report on the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military custody ( www.childreninmilitarycustody.org). Her Criminal practice includes all aspects of serious crime particularly murder, manslaughter, sex offences, armed robbery and drug related offences. Many cases involve complex medical and scientific issues, and mental health issues. In the Family Division she appears in substantial matters and has extensive experience of cases involving S.I.D.S; factitious illness syndrome and sexual abuse. She is regularly instructed by Local Authorities, Parents and Guardian-ad-litem and an all round good egg.

Notable Cases:

Prosecution of first slavery case in the UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9392950/Traveller-family-guilty-of-forcing-homeless-men-into-slavery.html

Operation Monarch (prosecution in a three-month trial of five members of a Muslim family for kidnap, false imprisonment and murder of a faith healer; an honour killing involving sensitive cultural issues where convictions were obtained in respect of all defendants);

Defended solicitor accused of murder where police officer made sexual gestures to a juror: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1279417/Solicitor-ordered-killing-business-partner-following-20-year-affair.html

More Brief Chats

Brief Chats

Tom Kilroy
Fitzgibbon QC

Francis FitzGibbon QC sml

David Enright small
  Nick Hanning
Nick Hanning small
  HHJ Rosalind Coe QC
and Frances Oldham QC

Brief Chats

More about the Brief Chats Presenters.

Felicity Gerry is an international barrister and media commentator. Her caseload includes international fraud, historic sexual abuse, rape and murder. She is regularly approached to speak on international issues including human trafficking & rape in conflict zones. She has pioneered treatment of vulnerable defendants & champions the position of women at the Bar.  Felicity is a memorable advocate and a popular and experienced broadcaster with many appearances on BBC News, Panorama, Sky News, Al Jazeera, BBC’s The Big Questions, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Law in Action, BBC Radio 2, BBC 5 Live and Channel 5. She writes regularly for the broadsheet and legal press, from The Times to Counsel Magazine and has a weekly column in Criminal Law and Justice Weekly.  

Felicity is also the co-author of The Sexual Offences Handbook which covers the law, practice and procedure for all sex crime from 1956 to date.  

Kim Evans started out as a Metropolitan Police officer serving in the East End of London before becoming a detective working on murder squads, including attachments to Scotland Yard (technical support - secret squirrel surveillance stuff) and the Flying Squad for the Brinks Mat Bullion Enquiry. She then switched to the 'Dark Side' working as a paralegal for a firm of solicitors and then qualifying as a police station representative. She represented Kay Gilderdale from police station to Crown Court in a high profile assisted suicide case, resulting in an acquittal on a charge of attempted murder.  She now works as assistant editor for Andrew Keogh at Crimeline - a company which updates solicitors and barristers with the latest developments in all things to do with criminal law. In her spare time she is a commissioning editor at The Justice Gap and a legal blogger/journalist, working to highlight miscarriages of justice and access to justice matters. She is an advisory board member to the new Centre for Criminal Appeals and has written for Solicitors Journal and the Guardian.

Barbara Hamilton-Bruce is a princess who wants to be the feet of the legal profession and is willing to promote the quality designs and work of leading footwear designers without cost to them .... No? Ok....how about this....

Barbara started out as a junior secretary/office junior in a provincial law firm and is now Group Director of Legal Operations with Abstract Legal Holdings Limited.  A Chartered Legal Executive with over 20 years’ experience of the legal sector moving from private practice where she specialized in personal injury and clinical negligence she ‘jumped ship’ and moved into an in-house role 10 years ago. As the only in-house lawyer in a business employing over 200, Barbara’s best described as a 'jack of all trades' turning her hand to whatever areas the business requires with a strong focus on strategy enabled by the Legal Services Act 2007 (alternative business structures). 

Barbara is also a Council Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) a professional body representing 22,000 trainee and practising Chartered Legal Executives. Barbara blogs in a personal capacity through ‘The Red Files’ and writes for Legal Futures, the CILEx Journal and blog and The Justice Gap along with contribution to personal blogs of other legal commentators.  

Felicity, Barbara and Kim

Brief Chat presenters Felicity Gerry, Barbara Hamilton-Bruce and Kim Evans


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