Who? Charles Brasted, partner at Hogan Lovells, London.
Why is he in the news? As part of its pro bono practice, Hogan Lovells secured a win for family law organisation West Sussex Resolution in a battle to save Chichester Court. HM Courts & Tribunals Service had decided to close the court and transfer all local cases to towns outside West Sussex. Following a three-year legal process, HMCTS has committed to ongoing court provision in the town for civil and family law cases, opening new court premises in the district council headquarters at East Pallant House.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Court closures matter, and what this case has shown is that where those decisions are rigorously scrutinised, you can achieve results. That does not mean denying the reality of tightening budgets but insisting on proportionate, evidence-based solutions that work. The extraordinary tenacity of Edward Cooke (Edward Cooke Family Law), who instructed us on behalf of West Sussex Resolution, won through. It will no doubt be a fillip to others fighting similar battles.’
Dealing with the media: ‘It has not been only about legal arguments. An insistence on knowing the facts and ensuring that those making decisions turned their mind to those facts was crucial; and in that we had common cause with the media. This was not about grandstanding but about transparency and good decision-making.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘My wife is a scientist and I marvel at the patience required to experiment, to try again and again, at the mercy of so many unknowns – the laws of nature. Our law, on the other hand, is just words, made by us, that have profound consequences. To be a lawyer is to have the immense privilege of being able to take the words and make them work.’
Career high: ‘After the recent licence renewal for Uber in London and a good outcome in this case too, it has been a good few days. But there are many highs, such as helping the Libyan National Transitional Council in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Gaddafi.’
Career low: ‘Having my carefully prepared court bundle thrown across the courtroom by the judge, and watching the pages flutter over the benches. Because the documents had been stapled. That was my first courtroom experience as a trainee. It is why I am not allowed to do the bundles any more.’