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WATCH: Human rights champ appointed Court of Appeal judge

WATCH: Human rights champ appointed Court of Appeal judge

Wednesday 11 March 2020

WATCH: Human rights champ appointed Court of Appeal judge


A barrister, who successfully fought for a widow’s allowance for an unmarried mother in a high-profile Supreme Court case, is to become a judge in Jersey's Court of Appeal.

Helen Mountfield QC, who has over 26 years of expertise in constitutional law, human rights and equality law, will be sworn in in Royal Court on 23 March.

She told Express she was “delighted to be joining such fine jurists on the Jersey Court of Appeal".

She added: "...And, having last visited the Island when I was 11 years old on a school journey, I very much look forward to rediscovering the island."

Video: Ms Mountfield QC talked about her career as part of 'First 100 Years', a series documenting the journey of women in the legal profession.

Ms Mountfield went to Crown Woods School in south-east London before reading Modern History at Magdalen College Oxford, where she obtained a first-class degree, directed plays and was one of the first ‘Target Schools’ officers.  

She was called to the bar in 1991, founded Matrix Chambers, and was appointed to Silk – as Queen’s Counsel – in 2010. 

She has been sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court since 2013. Her CV also states she is as a civil and criminal recorder. Ms Mountfield is also a qualified mediator, a member of the Council of Justice and a Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn - one of the four professional associations for barristers and judges in London.

Ms Mountfield is well-known for cases concerning discrimination and equality questions as they arise in public law, employment, commercial and other contexts.

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Pictured: The Jersey Court of Appeal sits in the Royal Court building.

She has appeared in many cases in the Supreme Court, European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights. In 2015-2016 alone, she appeared in the Supreme Court seven times, including for the winning parties in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.

Ms Mountfield acted as Counsel for the Child Poverty Group (CPAG) in a human rights law judgment regarding the Widowed Parent’s Allowance. The case focused on Siobhan McLaughlin, a mother of four, who was refused the allowance following the death of her partner of 23 years because they were not married.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the allowance payable in Northern Ireland discriminated against unmarried parents.

The news comes following another significant appointment.

On Monday (9 March), Mark Temple was sworn in as Attorney General before the Royal Court

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Pictured: Mark Temple was sworn in as Attorney General on Monday. 

Previously the Solicitor General, Mr Temple stepped into the role of Attorney General – which involves leading the Law Officers’ Department as the island’s top prosecutor – after Robert Macrae QC vacated the position to become Deputy Bailiff.

It followed the retirement of former Bailiff Sir William Bailhache, who was succeeded by the former Deputy Bailiff Timothy Le Cocq.

Mr Temple was educated at King’s College School in Wimbledon before studying history at Cambridge.  

He qualified as an English solicitor in 1994 and then became a Jersey Advocate in 2005. Ten years later, he was sworn in as Solicitor General.

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