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LAMB LIMELIGHT: Dominic Bright

Welcome to the next addition of Lamb Limelight.

This week’s spotlighted barrister is Dominic Bright.

Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.
“Prior to pupillage, I was a judicial assistant to the then President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson.  I joined Lamb Chambers as a third six pupil, having started out in civil, criminal and family law.  After accepting a tenancy, I was seconded to the world’s largest publicly-traded property and casualty insurer, attended what is ‘internationally recognised as arguably the best and most intensive advocacy course in the world’ at Keble College, Oxford, and appeared as sole counsel on behalf of the first appellant in a conjoined, two-day, live-streamed appeal, before the Court of Appeal.  My practice now includes commercial, construction and property.”

What is your first memory of wanting to be a barrister?
“When I was mini-pupil with a criminal defence barrister, named by The Times as a Star of the Criminal Bar, one of the Top 10 Influential Lawyers in the UK and ‘recognised as one of the most effective cross-examiners at the Bar’.  He was representing a Royal Protection Squad Officer facing kidnap, violence allegations, against a journalist.  After a closing speech in which he distinguished a telephoto, camera lens, from a telescopic, weapon sight, his client was found not guilty.”

Is there a certain case that stands out to you in your career? If yes, why?
“On 15 November 2022, I was instructed in a possession hearing.  An order was made on a mandatory ground.  The defendant appealed.  The day before the rolled up appeal hearing, the defendant applied to adjourn it.  The application to adjourn and permission to appeal was refused, on the basis that it had no real prospect of success and there was no other compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.  The defendant appealed the refusal to grant an adjournment.  Two working days before a hearing in the High Court (Chancery Appeals), the defendant applied to adjourn.  The application to adjourn was refused.  On the Friday before the hearing, the defendant appealed that refusal to the Court of Appeal.  On the same day as the application, the Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal.  At the hearing on Monday, the High Court Judge refused to continue the stay of eviction.  On 12 April 2024, I received the following email from my professional client: ‘I am just emailing to let you know that we have vacant possession of this property and the landlord asked me to pass on his thanks.’”

What’s your favourite thing about being a barrister?
“Winning.  At the front of A Practical Guide to the Small Claims Track (first and second edition; the third edition will be available at all good bookshops from September this year), I quote Theodore Roosevelt and ‘The Man in the Arena’ speech that he gave in the Sorbonne, Paris, in April 1910.  In my view, it epitomises the highest traditions of the Bar: ‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’”

What do you do to relax?
“I enjoying walking ‘Merlin’ the German Shepherd in and around Kent, playing my (electronic) drum kit, and, most recently, fencing – not with a foil, but with pickets, posts and a paint sprayer.  This month, I will be practising my lime-based painting skills on the journey of conserving a Sixteenth-Century, Grade II listed cottage.  In June, I will attend the most iconic of the flat races and the highlight of the racing year at the Hippodrome de Chantilly: a thoroughbred turf racecourse about 30 miles north of Paris, with the 186-meter-long stable, built in 1719, and rightly recognised as the most beautiful in the world.”

If you weren’t a barrister, what would you be?
“I was a legal intern at the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre, supporting the development, implementation and verification of international agreements.  I worked on the National Implementation Measures Programme by researching legislation implementing international instruments to secure nuclear and other radioactive material.  If I wasn’t practising law, I would be researching it.”


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