News In Focus
First Mike Jones Advocacy Prize awarded to two devils
Two devil (trainee) advocates have been named the first winners of the Mike Jones Excellence in Advocacy Prize.
Megan Dewart and Michael Way were chosen following a moot competition, centred on the privacy case of Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC.
The prize was established in memory of Mike Jones QC, who was renowned for his advocacy skills while at the bar. He went on to join the bench as Lord Jones, but died in 2016 after suffering a haemorrhagic stroke.The prize was launched last year by his family and the Faculty of Advocates.
"Mike was passionate about excellence in advocacy", said his wife, Fiona Jones.
"He devoted many, many hours of non-existent free time to preparing training sessions, and was always deeply committed to training young lawyers. He would have been so excited by this competition and the standards shown."
The event in Court Nine of Parliament House also featured a talk, "Excellence in Advocacy", by US attorney Tim Finnegan, who, with Mike Jones, had been part of the defenders’ legal team in the 2005 Court of Session case of McTear v Imperial Tobacco. In it, damages were claimed on behalf of a smoker who died of lung cancer, but Lord Nimmo Smith found for the defenders.
"Excellence in advocacy can be seen as the art of persuasion...the job of the advocate is to persuade the judge or the jury to adopt the point of view of his or her client," said Mr Finnegan.
"I had the pleasure of working with Mike Jones on a number of cases. He had great passion for the skill and art of advocacy. He had a keen intellect. This showed in the McTear case where he was able to master not only the factual and legal issues, but also the many scientific issues.
"He was always down to earth, unassuming and unpretentious. He was very industrious, often rising at 3:30am to prepare for his day in court. He had a fascination for cutting-edge technology, and was a wiz in the use of technology. He never rambled or wasted words, and was very precise. Mike Jones was many things in his lifetime, but, foremost, he was an outstanding advocate."