The agreed process provides for an independent Selection Panel, comprising two retired senior judges, senior barristers, senior solicitors and lay (not legally qualified) members. The Panel is chaired by a lay member. The members of the Selection Panel who will oversee the 2023 competition are below.
For more information about a member of the King’s Counsel Selection Panel, please click on the relevant name.
Monisha is Chair of Wikimedia UK. She is also the Senior Independent Member (Chair) of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and a member of Ofcom’s Content Board. In a voluntary capacity, she serves as a Trustee of the Art Fund and of Caterham School. In previous roles, she was a Board member of the Office for Students, Chair of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and served as Trustee of Tate, Donmar Warehouse, National Gallery and the Foundling Museum. In 2007, she was appointed Trustee of Tate, a Prime Ministerial appointment. In 2022, she was invited to join the Royal Collection Trust as Trustee by Her Majesty The Late Queen.
Monisha has a professional background in media and intellectual property having worked for 10 years at BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC before stepping down in 2010. She has a post-graduate degree from SOAS and an executive MBA from the London Business School. In 2010, she was nominated Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In December 2015, Monisha was invited by the Prime Minister to join the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Christina Blacklaws studied Jurisprudence at Oxford University and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. She has been a lifelong innovator in the legal field establishing one of the first ‘virtual’ law firms, setting up the first Alternative Business Structure with the Cooperative Group and was one of the first to hold the title of Director of Innovation in a law firm. Christina now acts as a non-executive director for several law firms, consults in the legal, tech and diversity and inclusion sectors and is an international speaker and commentator.
Passionate about diversity and inclusion, she sits on several advisory boards and the IBA’s Women Lawyers’ Advisory Board, where she is also a council member. She is a former President of the Law Society of England and Wales.
She currently chairs two UK government bodies – LawTech UK Panel and the Judicial Pensions Board. She is also Head of Faculty of the Legal Technology and Innovation Institute and chairs the Civil Liberties Trust.
Douglas Board is an executive coach and an expert on leadership and selection, in which he completed his doctorate. Previously he was a Treasury civil servant and then deputy chairman of the executive search firm Saxton Bampfylde. He has led many pioneering leadership appointments relating to merit, diversity and the law, including on the foundation of the Judicial Appointments Commission and its audit-based predecessor. He was a trustee and then treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chair of the British Refugee Council. He is the author of two applied research books on leadership, two novels and in 2021 a book about elites and glass ceilings. He is a visiting professor at the University of Chichester and a member of the research centre into professional service firms at Bayes Business School.
Matthew Chapman KC was called to the Bar in 1994 and took silk in 2017. He is a Barrister at Deka Chambers in London. Matthew is a personal injury practitioner with particular interests in cross-border disputes/travel matters and employers’ liability actions. He acts for Claimants and Defendants (insurers, travel companies, air/sea carriers and public authorities). He is a fee-paid Employment Judge and, for many years, has been a co-author of Munkman on Employers’ Liability and Saggerson on Travel Law and Litigation.
Katrina has spent most of her career in the field of Human Resources; as a practitioner and an academic. Before joining the University of Winchester, she worked at an executive level for several global healthcare organisations. Her career portfolio has encompassed public appointments, volunteering, non-executive positions, academia, and external examiner roles.
Katrina’s public appointments include: Independent Panellist for the Judicial Appointments Commission (2004-12) and Member of the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (2006-12). In 2019, she was made a Chartered Companion of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development for her outstanding contribution to equality and inclusion. Currently, Katrina is a PhD Supervisor, volunteer Council Member of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a carer.
Katrina is an HM Forces Veteran; she served in the Merchant Navy and Royal Naval Reserves. She was one of the first women to work on a minesweeper when the QRRNs changed to allow women at sea.
Sir Paul Morgan was a High Court Judge, assigned to the Chancery Division, from 2007 to 2021. He is now an arbitrator and mediator practising from Wilberforce Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Sara Nathan is a broadcast journalist by background, first at the BBC and then as Editor of Channel 4 News – the first woman to edit a network news programme in the UK. Since 1998 she has combined roles in journalism, regulation and public policy. She has held a range of positions relating to appointments including as a Judicial Appointments Commissioner and as a Public Appointments Assessor at the Cabinet Office. She currently chairs fitness to practice tribunals for Social Work England and is chair of the Regulatory & Conduct Appointment Committee for the ICAEW.
In 2015 she co-founded Refugees at Home to match generous hosts with asylum-seekers and refugees in need. It has now made more than 4,000 placements and hosted for more than 300,000 individual person nights.
Dame Anne Rafferty retired from the Court of Appeal in July 2020. As a silk at the criminal Bar she was from 1989-1997 Secretary, Vice Chairman, then Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association. She was the only barrister member of the Runciman Commission on criminal justice. She was de facto Chairman of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and Chairman of the Judicial College. She is Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.
Mena Ruparel qualified as a solicitor in 1998, she is the immediate past Chair of the Law Society family committee having previously been Chief Assessor of the Law Society family law accreditations. She is interested in legal education and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England and more recently at the University of Law. Mena has authored a number of legal publications for the Law Society, Bath Publishing and CILEX law school. She was the Chief Examiner of the CILEX Family Law level 6 examination for a number of years.
Mena is a well-known speaker and commentator on the subjects of both family law and legal ethics. In 2021 she won the Law Society award for Excellence in Promoting High Ethical Standards with the co-author of her book on ethics for solicitors.
Mena volunteers regularly, this includes delivering food parcels for those in need for a local charity and recording the local news for distribution to visually impaired residents.
Professor Leslie Thomas KC is a practising barrister and former joint head at Garden Court Chambers. Since 2020 he has held the position of Professor of Law at Gresham College. He is also a visiting Professor of Law at Goldsmiths, University of London. Leslie is a bencher at the Inner Temple and is chair of the EDI sub-committee for the Inn. He is a barrister member of the Bar Standards Board. He is the co-author of “Inquests a Practitioner’s Guide” published by Legal Action (2014).
The Panel Members have declared interests which may be material to selecting and recommending appointment of potential Silks. These are set out in the Register of Panel Members’ Interests. A link to the Register is below.