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Listening Inn podcast – an oral history project

The back of a barrsiters wigged head as she listens on to a group of people out of focus in the distance - a blue film colours the image

About the podcast

As part of the Lincoln’s Inn 600th anniversary year celebrations during 2022, the Inn set out to record the thoughts and recollections of five of its members, through an oral history project, carried out by oral historian Sarah Gudgin (Oral History Society Regional Networkers). Each Listening Inn interview reveals aspects of the lives and careers of the interviewees and explores a sense of the continuity of both the legal profession and the role of the Inn in people’s lives.

The long term aim of the project is to create an on-going oral history archive of the Inn, adding more recordings over time, covering a wide range of Inn experiences, including those of students, pupils, employees, tenants, clerks, Benchers, KCs and Judges.

We are most grateful for the generous time and contributions of all of our interviewees who took part in the project, which we hope you will enjoy listening to.

Her Honour Judge Whitehouse KC smiles in a crowd of people. Her blonde hair is shoulder length and she wears a blue and red floral shirt and small drop earrings

Episode 5 – Her Honour Judge Whitehouse KC

In the last of Listening Inn, Series One, oral historian Sarah Gudgin interviews Her Honour Judge Whitehouse KC, who talks about leaving a successful career in the City in order to become a barrister and her work as Silk at the Criminal Bar. She also reflects on becoming Senior Treasury Counsel and a Judge.

Her Honour Judge Whitehouse KC, was born in Kampala, Uganda in 1961, before the family relocated to Yorkshire. Sarah studied English Literature and Language at St Andrews University where she became interested in politics and libertarianism. After graduating she had a successful career as an Investment Banker in the City as well as standing as a Conservative candidate in the 1992 General Election.  In this podcast Sarah discusses her decision to change career direction, her call to the Bar in 1993 and applying for pupillage in her 30’s. She talks about her career at the criminal Bar, where she prosecuted and defended in a wide variety of cases, many of which were high profile, the most recent being the second Hillsborough trial. Other cases included murder, terrorism, corruption, sexual offences, fraud and cybercrime.  Sarah was appointed Junior Treasury Counsel in 2006 and Queen’s Counsel and Senior Treasury Counsel in 2014. She was elected a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in the same year.  In 2018 she was appointed as deputy First Senior Treasury Counsel as well as being appointed as a Recorder. In 2021 she was appointed as a Circuit Judge and presided as a Judge in the Crown Court at Woolwich.  Her most recent appointment is as a Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court at The Old Bailey, in April 2023.  Sarah was Chair of the Post-Call Education Committee at Lincoln’s Inn 2015 – 2022. She is a Grade A advocacy tutor and tutors on the annual international advocacy course at Keble College, Oxford as well as delivering advocacy and judicial training all over the world. She is an ordained Priest in the Church of England and is currently licensed as an Associate Priest at Holy Trinity and St Augustine’s in South West London.

Headshot of a smiling David Scorey KC. He is wearing a grey pin striped suit jacket, blue tie and light blue shirt, and has on round tortoise shell glasses.

Episode 4 – David Scorey KC

This interview with David Scorey KC looks beyond background and regional accents to follow his road from humble beginnings in Manchester to Oxford and the Bar, a path that required ability, application and merit.

David Scorey was born Manchester, 1973 and brought up by his mother, a teacher and a single parent. When the young David told his grandfather that he wanted to be a lawyer, his advice was that it was better to be a barrister, because they were the ones in front and in charge. David was determined to study law and gained a place at St John’s College, Oxford, followed by an LLM (European Community Law) at Leiden University. He joined the Inn in 1994, with the generous support of a Hardwicke Scholarship, which enabled him to fund the cost of Bar School. He was called to the Bar in 1997 and obtained pupillage at Essex Court Chambers where he continues to be based. David took Silk in 2015 and has a wide-ranging practice in international and domestic commercial law, litigating in both domestic courts and tribunals, in addition to international arbitrations.  David has significant appellate experience in the Court of Appeal, House of Lords (as was) and Supreme Court. David also has appeared in the ECtHR and has extensive experience in preliminary references to the CJEU. He is called in the BVI and is admitted to practice as a Registered Foreign Lawyer before the Singapore International Commercial Court.  In this podcast, David talks about his experience of student life at the Inn, working hard as a junior and his experience as an advocate and Silk. He was made a Bencher in 2008 and contemplates the importance of keeping the Inn relevant to the needs of its members.

Elspeth Talbot Rice KC, smiling, in black suit and top, in front of a grey backdrop

Episode 3 – Elspeth Talbot Rice KC

In this episode of Listening Inn, Elspeth Talbot Rice KC speaks about the importance of truth and integrity, her career as a Chancery Barrister and the significance of the history and continuity of Lincoln’s Inn.

Elspeth was born Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1967 and her father was a provincial solicitor with a practice in Sunderland. After taking a Law Degree at Durham University, Elspeth was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1990. She shares her memories of her time as a pupil and her observations on the pupillage experience today. As a Wigglesworth Scholar, she also talks about some of the ways in which the Inn supports and nurtures the careers of barristers, as well reflecting on the importance of equality, inclusion and diversity in the Inn. Elspeth joined XXIV Old Buildings as a second 6 month pupil in April 1991 and became a tenant there on completion of her pupillage in October 1991. She took Silk in 2008, became a Bencher of the Inn in 2012 and became head of her chambers in 2022. She has a broad commercial Chancery practice, with many of her cases having overseas and international elements and she is experienced at handling complex and high-value pieces of Chancery litigation. She has won accolades from the legal directories over the years, being praised as having a great combination of technical skill, judgment and practicality as well as being a great team player.

David Ainger smiling, in a pink shirt, standing in front of green foliage

Episode 2 – David Ainger

We meet veteran Chancery barrister David Ainger who reflects on his longstanding relationship with the Inn spanning 66 years as well as talking about some of the changes he has witnessed in that time.

David Ainger was born in Bristol in 1935. After leaving Marlborough College he completed two and a half years of National Service, including two years in the Canal Zone and six months in Cyprus. David has a love of history, old buildings and books and claims that the Library of Lincoln’s Inn was the primary cause of his joining the Inn as a student in 1957. In 1958 he went up to Oxford, where he attended Lincoln College and obtained a Law Degree, afterwards going to the US to study American Law at Cornell University. David was called to the Bar in 1961 and joined Chancery Chambers in Old Square. He describes his practice as being “a typical old-fashioned Chancery practice, including conveyancing and advising on title (much land was unregistered, boundary disputes, easements, water rights (including River Navigations and foreshore trusts, wills, rights of common, village greens and taxation. Unusually for a junior he litigated in Hong Kong twice, in a case which went to the Privy Council. In due course he became one of the Conveyancing Counsel to the Court. David became a Bencher in December 1993 and joined the Library Committee, eventually becoming its Chairman for eight years, during which time he reviewed each proposed new edition. He retired in about 2012, but still sits on the Library Committee and occasionally attends Chapel and other events, including the annual Christmas Bench Dinner.

Sir Rabinder Singh smiling, wearing a black turban, glasses and with a balck beard flecked with gray

Episode 1 – The Rt Hon Lord Justice Singh

Sir Rabinder Singh is a Lord Justice of Appeal and President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.  Born in Delhi in 1964, he came to this country as a young child, grew up in a working class neighbourhood of Bristol and attended Bristol Grammar School. He was the first lawyer in his family and the first person of Asian heritage to be made a High Court judge. After graduating in Law from Trinity College Cambridge, he spent a year as a Harkness Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley where he became interested in constitutional law. After a brief spell as a lecturer at the University of Nottingham, he was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1989 and did his pupillage at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square. He practised at the Bar from 1990 to 2011, acting both for and against the Government. In 2000, he was one of a group of barristers who founded Matrix Chambers, forging a name for himself as a human rights lawyer, and in 2002 he became a QC. He was appointed a deputy High Court judge in 2003, aged 39, and in 2004 he became a Recorder of the Crown Court. In 2011 he was appointed as a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. He was a Presiding Judge of the South Eastern Circuit from 2013 to 2017.  He was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2017.  His publications include The Unity of Law (2022), a collection of his essays and lectures. He was elected a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 2009.

During our interview, Lord Justice Singh spoke about the law being a great equaliser, an idea that has influenced him in his work both as a barrister and as a Judge.