New Zealand Law Society - The silk who is no mere player

The silk who is no mere player

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Renowned British Queen’s Counsel Nigel Pascoe doesn’t do things by halves. In early August Mr Pascoe will be a keynote speaker at the Criminal Bar Association’s annual conference in Auckland, talking on Advocacy in Pursuit of a Cause.

While that is bread and better to a QC, Mr Pascoe is also an actor and playwright of numerous plays over the years. And just before the CBA’s conference he will perform his own Merely Players show together with his wife Elizabeth at the Auckland University of Technology.

Mr Pascoe says Merely Players is an affectionate look at Shakespeare and Advocacy in the rough framework of a Crown Court trial. So, Mark Anthony makes the defence speech from Julius Caesar.

“It also has a few stories and jokes. I’ve been acting with my wife Elizabeth since student days and in the Bar Theatrical Society. She is a wonderful speaker of verse. The show lasts about an hour and the extracts are all very well known,” he says.

Nigel Pascoe QC

For him acting started before studying law.

“I acted a bit at school and in early days at the Bar but it all started with researching a good evening to provide for a huge number of American lawyers who came over for an ABA conference in London.

“I found the trial of Penn and Mead at the Old Bailey (1670) in the Inner Temple library and presented it with the Bar Theatrical Society.  Then, in 1994, I turned it into a one-man show and took it to the Edinburgh fringe and have been doing it ever since.”

Nigel Pascoe QC also has a new play about Lord Birkett called Sweet Reason which is due to be published later this year.

His play, The Trial of Penn and Mead, has been performed more than 90 times in Britain, the United States, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

He also presents a new version of Christmas Carol with Elizabeth and a new show about the early life of Charles Dickens.

In his life as a lawyer, Mr Pascoe is a specialist practitioner in criminal jury advocacy. He undertakes Courts Martial, and some civil work, including serious abuse and baby shaking cases, defamation, planning and licensing. He has been one of the top jury advocates in the UK since taking silk in 1988.

Unusually for an older lawyer, he describes himself as IT literate, with a particular interest in all aspects of court technology, and advises online.

Mr Pascoe has appeared in many high-profile murder cases in the West Country of England and many major cases elsewhere in circuit.

His book Advocacy Plus, a guide for young advocates, has just been published on Amazon.

Merely Players is being performed at AUT on 3 August.

For more information contact Kris Gledhill

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