Francesca Whitelaw is formally bestowed the title of King’s Counsel

27 March 2023

Chambers congratulates Francesca Whitelaw who was officially appointed to King’s Counsel today. The Lord Chancellor presided over the appointment ceremony at Westminster Hall, where he formally bestowed the titles to 95 barristers.

The title of King’s Counsel is awarded to those who have demonstrated particular skill and expertise in the conduct of advocacy. It is made to advocates who have rights of audience in the higher courts of England and Wales and have demonstrated the competencies in the Competency Framework to a standard of excellence. The King’s Counsel Selection Panel is responsible for recommendations to the Lord Chancellor on appointment of King’s Counsel.

Frankie is a leading specialist in government and police law and is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Below is an overview of her career to date.

  • Called to the Bar July 2003
  • Joined 5EC as a pupil in October 2005, supervised by former Member of Chambers HHJ Georgina Kent and John Bassett
  • ​Junior Counsel to the Crown – Attorney General's A Panel 2020, B Panel 2016, C Panel 2012
  • Specialist in public inquiries, inquests, public law, information law and police law 
  • Previous significant cases include: Bridges v South Wales Police (the first case in the world to consider the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement); the Sudesh Amman Inquests (Reading Terror Attack);  the Fishmongers' Hall Terror Attack inquests; the London Bridge and Borough Market Terror Attack Inquests; the Westminster Bridge Terror Attack Inquests;  the Deepcut Inquests; the last judicial review claim brought by Moors Murderer Ian Brady before he died; high profile police pursuit cases including Henry Hicks and Onese Power
  • Current caseload includes: the Sturgess  Public Inquiry (Salisbury poisonings); the Forbury Gardens (Reading Terror Attack) Inquests; the Infected Blood Inquiry; and advising and representing law enforcement bodies in a range of matters involving data protection, biometrics, surveillance, counter terrorism and national security
  • Pupil supervisor and mentor
  • Champion of gender equity and neurodiversity as well as all forms of diversity and inclusion at the Bar

The day was spent between Chambers, Westminster Hall and the High Court, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues in a mixture of traditional and informal celebrations.

Commenting on a memorable day, Frankie said: "Being sworn in as King's Counsel is not only an incredible privilege, but also a wonderful opportunity to look back and recognise all those who have played important parts in my life and career – and to look forward to new challenges at what is everyday becoming a more diverse, inclusive and innovative profession.".

Jason Beer KC, Head of Chambers, said: "We are all immensely proud that Frankie has taken silk.  It is, of course, richly deserved and a reflection of the breadth and depth of Frankie's skills, knowledge and ability.  It has been a particular pleasure to watch Frankie develop since she started pupillage with us back in 2005.  We look forward to seeing Frankie flourish in the next stage of her exciting career.".


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