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Aspiring Barristers Champions
 

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Elaine Banton

Elaine is the Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee and is an elected member on the Bar Council’s General Management Committee. Elaine is also a member of Middle Temple’s Appointment Committee, Former Co-Chair of Middle Temple’s Race Equality, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Working Group and a member of the Temple Women’s Forum Committee. Elaine also Heads 7 Bedford Row’s Employment Team and is the Chair of Chamber’s internal Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee. Elaine was a Finalist for the ‘First 100 Years Inspirational Woman of the Year Award’, awarded Barrister of the Year in 2019 and was an elected Bencher at Middle Temple in March 2019.

When asked why Elaine wanted to become an Aspiring Barristers Champion and why diversity and social mobility at the Bar is important to her, she explained:


I am fully committed to improving diversity and inclusion at the Bar so that it is reflective of all of the rich and diverse talent within the society that it serves. Working with Aspiring Barristers is an important step in that process.

 

I am fully committed to improving diversity and inclusion at the Bar so that it is reflective of all of the rich and diverse talent within the society that it serves. This inclusion, including social mobility, is vitally important so that public confidence is retained and indeed improved in the Bar as a profession”.

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His Honour Judge Nigel Lithman QC

Before his appointment as an Assistant Recorder in 1996, a Recorder in 2000 and a Circuit Judge in 2017, HHJ Lithman QC was a Barrister for 35 years at 2 Bedford Row during which he contributed enormously to the growth and success of Chambers. Described by his former Chambers as “one of the busiest, most fearless, as well as entertaining advocates of his generation,” HHJ Lithman QC practised primarily at the Old Bailey and also in Essex, covering during his career over 100 murder trials, targeted assassinations, salt poisoning, and Britain’s largest Ponzi fraudster.

HHJ Lithman QC was an elected Bencher at Inner Temple in 2009, appointed Junior and then Chairman of the Essex Bar Mess, and was also former Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association from 2013 to 2014; a time during which led to strike action being taken against the UK Government, bringing the courts to a halt for the first time in our 400-year history. HHJ Lithman QC remains convinced that failure to properly remunerate the Bar creates an existential threat to increased diversity and social mobility at the Bar.

HHJ Lithman QC is also a published author. In his new book ‘Nothing Like the Truth: The Trials and Tribulations of a Criminal Judge’ he speaks candidly about issues within the criminal justice system from his own experiences as a Criminal Barrister, QC, and Crown Court Judge; “witty and highly readable…perhaps the most truthful account of a criminal lawyer’s life I have read” (Matthew Hall, author & screenwriter).

Well known among his peers as a fearless and outspoken advocate, fair-minded Judge and funny man, and having already provided an extraordinary service to Chambers and the Criminal Bar, HHJ Lithman QC looks forward to continuing his impact and influence Championing Aspiring Barristers and its aims and ethos, supporting the next generation of aspiring advocates.

When asked why HHJ Lithman QC wanted to become an Aspiring Barristers Champion and why diversity and social mobility at the Bar is important to him, he explained:

I have been a lifelong admirer and friend to the Bar and so moving to become a supporter and now Champion of Aspiring Barristers is a natural fit.

Having begun practise in an era where the Bar was a haven largely for white males from privileged backgrounds, it is vital that the Bar reflects the diversity of those that it represents both in gender and in colour. Ultimately, we must strive for fair and equal opportunity for all. This is the quest for the same fairness that brought us into the profession in the first place".
 

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Mukhtiar Singh

Having left school at the age of 16, working various part-time jobs during primary and secondary education, and after spending more than 20 years as a detective inspector in the police force, Mukhtiar was called to the Bar in 2005. Mukhtiar completed his law degree and Bar qualifications whilst also working full time at the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s employment and civil litigation department.

 

Mukhtiar has a particular interest in social mobility at the Bar and in 2017 Mukhtiar founded the Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarship Scheme. Whilst additionally serving to encourage a wider understanding and discourse of Sikh jurisprudence, the scheme aims to improve social mobility at the Bar by providing financial support, mentorship, and career support to those from disadvantaged and poorer backgrounds who may otherwise perceive the Bar as being out of reach. The Scholarship is open to people of all faiths and is funded by Mukhtiar himself, run collaboratively with the Sikh Education Council.

Mukhtiar is also involved in outreach programmes speaking at universities about a career at the Bar and is a Social Mobility Advocate as part of the Bar Council’s ‘I am the Bar’ campaign. Mukhtiar has also featured on BBC Radio 4 sharing his own non-traditional route into the legal profession, advocating for more Chambers to run diversity schemes to ensure recruitment of the brightest and best to the Bar, irrespective of background.

When asked why Mukhtiar wanted to become an Aspiring Barristers Champion and why diversity and social mobility at the Bar is important to him, he explained:

"The Bar remains a profession which is out of reach for so many talented people. I have been impressed by the objectives of Aspiring Barristers and am delighted to help them level the playing field. I am also grateful that they will be supporting the Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships which I have been running and funding since 2017.

 

It is important to me (and should be to all of us) that those that work within law, including lawmakers, are of the highest quality. This aspiration for excellence cannot genuinely be achieved if we select from the few".