Masters of the Bench
Miss Adrienne Page QC
Full Title: Miss Adrienne Page QCCategory: Ordinary Bencher
Bench Call Date: 24.11.2003
Call Date: 18.7.1974
Adrienne Page joined Middle Temple at 18 having decided at school to come to the Bar. Graduating in – shock, horror – Social Sciences, a subject which Lord Diplock told her one dining night he viewed ‘with suspicion’, she was Called in July 1974.
Glanville Williams on Learning the Law warned her that: ‘An advocate’s task is essentially combative, whereas women are not generally prepared to give battle unless they are annoyed’. Undeterred, she commenced practice in October 1975, the first woman member in the Chambers of Stephen Terrell QC at 10 South Square, Gray’s Inn, later to become 5RB. As the youngest member and only woman in chambers, she scarcely dared speak, was referred to as ‘Page’ by colleagues and was expected to dress in sombre black (strictly no trousers or hair streaks). She has been in continuous practice at 5RB since then, serving as Joint Head of Chambers: 2003-11.
In her early years, at a less specialised Bar, she had a mixed practice, visiting courts around the country, some of them without a loo for female barristers; including the House of Lords where she was sent, when very junior, to take a judgment. Adrienne became a specialist in defamation and media law and was the first woman Queen’s Counsel in the field. She was the 98th woman appointed QC.
She sat as Assistant Recorder / Recorder from 1995-2004. She was elected a Bencher in 2003 and has served on various Inn committees, helping initiate the Inn’s popular Survive and Thrive series.
Adrienne was jointly short- listed for the Liberty / Justice Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award (2003) for the case of Lillie & Reed v Newcastle City Council, after successfully representing in a six-month libel trial nursery workers falsely accused of child sex abuse.
She has since led in many cases involving freedom of expression / protection of reputation, most recently in the Supreme Court in the leading case on section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013. She reports that, in the highest court of the land, there is now a very fine loo.