Brightest in Britain’s legal firmament

Brightest in Britain’s legal firmament

Ian Stern has risen to the very top of the legal profession, forging his reputation as a leading Queen’s Counsel in some of the country’s highest-profile court cases of the 21st century.

Ian (OE 1968–1975) returned to QE this term for a meeting with the Headmaster and, since he is keen to support the development of advocacy skills in schoolchildren, has agreed to host a visit to the crown court by the School’s entrants in this year’s Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition. (In addition to his work as a barrister, he sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court, that is, a part-time judge.)

After leaving QE, Ian read Politics at Warwick and then went on to gain his Diploma in Law from City University. He was called to the Bar in 1983 and became a Recorder in 2000. He took silk (gained the award of Queen’s Counsel) in 2006.

His specialisms include professional discipline, judicial reviews, cases of murder & manslaughter and of fraud, coroners’ inquests and High Court appeals. Ian’s Chambers, 2 Bedford Row, are ranked in band 1 for professional discipline and band 2 for crime. He is a member both of the London Bar and the New South Wales Bar in Australia and is the Head of Chambers Regulatory team.

In 2014, Ian was named Professional Discipline Silk of the Year by the legal directory, Chambers & Partners. He has been involved in a large number of cases in this field, including conducting the Andrew Mitchell ‘Plebgate’ misconduct hearings on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. Recent cases include that of Dr Lyndsey Thomas, who faced an allegation of gross negligence manslaughter arising from the death of a patient. Mrs Justice Nicola Davies allowed the submission of ‘no case to answer’ put forward by the defence, which Ian led.

He also has been at the forefront of several high-profile inquests in which he represented armed police officers. These include:

    • Mark Duggan: The 2013–2014 inquest followed the death which started the London riots. (Ian was also involved in the judicial review launched by Mr Duggan’s mother, Pamela, following the inquest’s verdict of lawful killing
    • Jean Charles de Menezes: Ian represented the officers who fired the shots that killed Mr de Menezes on 22nd July 2005 at Stockwell Underground Station after he was wrongly identified as a fugitive terrorist involved in the previous day’s failed bombing attempts.
    • Chandler’s Ford robbery: He represented the officers who fatally shot two men as they robbed a security guard outside a bank in the Hampshire town.

Among the murder cases he has been involved in is last year’s Old Bailey trial of retired specialist firearms officer Anthony Long, who was accused of the murder of Azelle Rodney, a 24-year-old suspected armed robber. Mr Long, whom Ian represented, was acquitted.

Chambers and Partners is fulsome in its praise, bestowing on him plaudits including:

    • “A highly regarded silk who is consistently involved in the highest-profile and most complex regulatory cases. His expertise covers a breadth of areas, and he is particularly regarded for his knowledge on police and healthcare disciplinary matters
    • “Instructed by top solicitors and major prosecuting authorities alike” he is armed with “bags of common sense” and “excellent judgment” and has “the ability to handle the most complex of fraud trials”
    • “Impressive advocate with a measured style and a delicate touch who always makes the right decisions”
    • “Absolutely first class” and a silk “who will fight his corner for the client”
    • He is noted for his advocacy, and for his ability to win over clients by “dealing with them with the necessary level of respect for their professionalism”.