The year has turned towards Summer again, so it is time for my annual round-up of the Northern Circuit Society’s activities.

The Society continues to enjoy great good health and we now have more than 450 members on Circuit, according to Master David Lynch’s most recent email to me. Master Lynch is quite remarkable in the attention to our good fortune which he has displayed over so many years. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that our students are well educated and well entertained, on Circuit. His affection for Domus is unparalleled and he is so generous with his time, experience, and energy. Recent times have not been kind to Master Lynch and his much-loved wife Ann died this year. Naturally, this has hit him very hard, and he is facing also some of the unpleasant burdens which come later in a very long life. I know I write on behalf of everyone in the Society when I wish him well and in expressing our huge thanks for everything he has done.

Your committee continues to work hard for you. My Deputy, Master Tim Storrie, is balancing a busy and successful silk’s practice with his duties in and around the Inn. He has led the planning, together with Judge Matthew Corbett-Jones, of our forthcoming Amity Dinner with the North Eastern Circuit. This will be in the wonderful Christie’s Bistro (the old Science Library) in Manchester on Friday 13 October 2023. Our friends from over the Pennines entertained us right royally in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last year and so we will need to go the extra mile to match their hospitality. I am ashamed to say that it was the first time in my life I had ever been to the capital of the North East. My wife and I were bowled over by the stylish elegance of the place and its surrounding country, just as we were, too, by the friendliness of all who we met. If you have not yet been, I can recommend it wholeheartedly. I hope it is not too long before we can return. 

Nearer to home, we held a very successful Question Time event in the Racquets Club, Liverpool. Students posed their questions and asked the advice of a panel led by Rebecca Jones. The event was largely organised by Indunee Seneviratne and was fully subscribed. It ended with an informal drinks reception. It was obviously a great success, and the atmosphere was really positive. One of the panel members was not from the Inn but from our neighbours just over Middle Temple Lane. Master Joe Hart is a recently appointed Bencher of Inner Temple and showed his typical non-partisan kindness in helping us at this event. In chatting with Joe over a drink afterwards we hit on the idea of holding an Amity event – possibly a dinner – between our two societies. It has not been done before on Circuit and I think it would make a very welcome addition to our calendar. Watch this space.

Helen Mulholland KC, promoted a special event on Tuesday 28 March 2023 set up by the Inn’s Talent Retention Group aimed at fostering and retaining the huge pool of talent we have in our female members. Helen took silk this year and I sincerely hope that her already heavy practice does not prevent her from continuing the important work she does on the committee. The MTNCS committee benefits greatly from the sound advice and hard work of successful, busy women including Kate Burnell KC, Sarah Morgan and Indunee Seneviratne. I do hope that the Inn manages to retain as much of this abundant talent as it can. 

One of the most effective aspects of the Society on Circuit is the work we do with MTYBA. I have been a member of the Inn for 40 years and even over that span of time I remember so clearly the way I benefitted from its support in my faltering steps as a student and in my early years at the Bar, which were a fairly slow burn affair (with the emphasis being very much on the ‘slow’). I don’t think MTYBA itself existed then but the support the Inn gave is now delivered by MTYBA and I really want to pay tribute to Emily Landale and all her fabulous colleagues for all they do.

Aside from particular events like this, we could not deliver all the help and support we do for the Inn on Circuit without our Treasurer, Simon Rowbotham, and of course the unstinting support of Oliver and Cath at the Inn. They are models of patience and efficiency. My very grateful thanks to each and to all. 

Master Simon Medland is Chairman of the Northern Circuit Society. Brought up in Cheshire, he was at the Criminal Bar in London, Chester and Liverpool. He sits as a Circuit Judge at the Crown Court in Preston.