First winners of Mike Jones advocacy prize

12 Nov

From left: Megan Dewart, Tim Finnegan, Michael Way and Fiona Jones


TWO of the next generation of advocates have already made their mark, after being named  the first winners of The Mike Jones Excellence in Advocacy Prize.

Megan Dewart and Michael Way are among the current group of Devils (trainee advocates) undertaking the Faculty's renowned training programme which was established in the 1990s by Mike Jones and his colleague at the Bar, John Sturrock, QC.

Mike Jones went on to join the Bench as Lord Jones, but died in 2016 after suffering a haemorrhagic stroke. A prize in his memory for excellence in advocacy was launched last year by his family and the Faculty.

A moot competition, centred on the privacy case of Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC, was held to decide the first winners of the award, and the team of Dewart and Way emerged victorious.

"Mike was passionate about excellence in advocacy," said his wife, Fiona Jones.

"He devoted many, many hours of non-existent free time to preparing training sessions, and was always deeply committed to training young lawyers. He would have been so excited by this competition and the standards shown."

The event in Court Nine of Parliament House also featured a talk, "Excellence in Advocacy", by US attorney, Tim Finnegan, who, with Mike Jones, had been part of the defenders’ legal team in the landmark 2005 Court of Session case of McTear v Imperial Tobacco. In it, damages were claimed on behalf of a smoker who died of lung cancer, but Lord Nimmo Smith found for the defenders.

"Excellence in advocacy can be seen as the art of persuasion...the job of the advocate is to persuade the judge or the jury to adopt the point of view of his or her client," said Mr Finnegan.

"I had the pleasure of working with Mike Jones on a number of cases. He had great passion for the skill and art of advocacy. He had a keen intellect. This showed in the McTear case where he was able to master not only the factual and legal issues, but also the many scientific issues.

"He was always down to earth, unassuming and unpretentious. He was very industrious, often rising at 3:30am to prepare for his day in court. He had a fascination for cutting-edge technology, and was a wiz in the use of technology. He never rambled or wasted words, and was very precise. Mike Jones was many things in his lifetime, but, foremost, he was an outstanding advocate."