Benet Brandreth QC
A big outlet for my interest in the power of language comes through my work as a barrister. Some of that is obvious, some of it unexpected.
Most obviously, being an advocate provides a practical arena for applying my understanding of rhetoric - the art of persuasion - but my other interests also inform my work. As a novelist, for example: although I work in quite a dry area factually, I have seen on many occasions how important telling your client’s story is - even when arguing the meaning of the Enforcement Directive. As a performer, there is the same need to engage with the audience and capture their attention.
Less obvious, but equally important for my interest in language, is the area I practise in. I specialise in Intellectual Property Rights: Patents, Trade Marks, Copyright and the like. Although words obviously play a central role in many copyright cases, my interest is more often engaged by patent and trade mark disputes. A central question in almost every patent case is the construction of the patent in suit: What do the words mean in context? How do you approach the task? Do the Defendant’s acts fall within the scope of the patent? I find Trade Marks even more intriguing. They’re an incredibly abstract right. What does this sign mean on these goods or these services? What is the nature of a sign? What about the sign do consumers treat as meaningful? It’s bizarrely philosophical and trade mark cases almost always make me wish I’d paid more attention in my propositional calculus classes at Cambridge. Before taking silk I was on the Attorney-General’s A Panel of Counsel and in that capacity I was lucky enough to advise on a number of cases that looked at the fundamentals of the law - not just what it is but what it should be.
Developing my skill in the courtroom as an advocate has always been a focus of my career. I won the Richard DuCann Memorial Prize for Excellence in Advocacy at Bar School and I have been fortunate since then to have been involved in some prominent litigation, which has allowed me to work with and learn from some great advocates. I hope I have taken what was best about them and made it my own. I try to pass on what I have learned as an advocacy trainer for the Middle Temple.
If you’re interested in my work as a barrister you should head over to my Chambers’ website. Not as much fun as this one - but considerably more useful to you.
What the legal directories say
Good at persuading judges
“He is confident, robust, determined, intelligent and skilled... He is a very bright and determined advocate who is very good at persuading judges.”
— Chambers & Partners 2018
Unparalleled skill on his feet
“Benet Brandreth puts clients at ease and is able to grasp the most complex issues in a heartbeat. He has unparalleled skill on his feet in court.”
— World Trademark Review 2016
An excellent and original mind
“He has an excellent and original mind, and is very hardworking”
— Legal 500 2015