Masters of the Bench
Mrs Marilynne Morgan CB
Full Title: Mrs Marilynne Morgan CBCategory: Ordinary Bencher
Bench Call Date: 13.3.2002
Call Date: 22.11.1972
Marilynne Morgan was educated at Bedford College, University of London where she read History. She then worked in the Historical Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and, while there, did a part-time Law conversion course and then her Bar Finals full-time.
Pupillage was at 1 Garden Court, as her Chambers’ first woman pupil. Her intention was to return to the civil service; she had worked with the FCO’s Legal Advisers and seen what interesting work they did. However Marilynne was by then married, and the FCO would not accept married women into grades liable to be sent abroad. So she applied for the Government Legal Service and joined the Department of Health and Social Security in 1973.
In the 18 years she was there, Marilynne undertook a wide range of work. She rapidly became a European Law specialist and travelled to Brussels regularly. But her lasting specialism was instructing Parliamentary Counsel on primary legislation and drafting secondary legislation herself. Unusually for a government lawyer, she gained a lot of advocacy experience before tribunals, chaired a number of inquiries into NHS complaints, and published many legal articles.
In 1992, Marilynne became Legal Adviser to the Department of the Environment (the first woman Legal Adviser to a government department), ultimately managing some 75 lawyers. In 1997, she became Legal Adviser to the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and the Office for National Statistics, with some 500 staff.
She championed flexible working and herself became the most senior person in Whitehall to work one day a week from home. She was awarded the CB for services to the Department of the Environment in 1996.
Marilynne was elected a Bencher in 2002. She has sat on the Executive, Estates, Finance and Catering Committees and is currently Trustee of the Scholarship Funds. She was Lent Reader in 2012, taking as her subject: ‘Using your skills in different ways’, enthusiastically promoting opportunities outside the Independent Bar.