Monday 10 August


Join us for a lively conversation between two titans of the legal profession, Jo Delahunty QC and Mary-Rachel McCabe, as they talk about the challenges and rewards of life at the bar.

Mary-Rachel McCabe is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. She specialises in social welfare law, including housing, community care and mental capacity law.

She has particular expertise in children’s rights and regularly acts in urgent judicial review proceedings for children who are street homeless, and in damages claims against local authorities for delays in issuing care proceedings.

Mary-Rachel also has a busy Court of Protection practice, in which she is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor. 

She is committed to equal access to justice for all, and has been actively involved in the Justice Alliance campaign against ongoing cuts to legal aid since its inception in 2013.

Professor Jo Delahunty QC is a barrister, judge and legal academic. Called to the bar in 1986, she is one of the UK's leading family barristers practising from 4 Paper Buildings, London.

She took silk in 2006 and became a Recorder in 2009. Alongside her silk practice Jo was appointed Gresham Professor of Law in 2016 and made an Emeritus Gresham Professor of Law in 2020. Jo has won multiple industry awards for her work in contentious cases involving complex scientific and medical evidence and catastrophic injuries to / the death of a child, child sex abuse involving babies as young as a few months old, witchcraft/ ritualised abuse and ISIS radicalisation cases. She has a cross discipline reputation and acted for 77 families in the Hillsborough Inquests her role being to establish that a negligent medical response at the ground led to avoidable loss of life: a task fulfilled by the Jury’s verdict. 

Jo has been a pioneer in confronting sexual harassment and judicial bullying at The Bar and was one of the first women to support the ‘me too’ movement in the legal profession. She broke the silence about mental health issues at the Bar and continues to push boundaries exposing the Bar and Judiciary's lack of diversity and social exclusivity. She is patron of ‘Bridging the bar’ a charity set up this year to broaden the social and ethnic make- up of the Bar.
She is a mentor for Association of Women Barristers.

She is ranked as a Top Tier silk in the Industry Bibles. Colleagues say she 'dominates' every case she is in, 'has a razor sharp mind with a phenomenal work rate' (Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners) 'a phenomenal cross examiner, who gets unbelievable results’, 'She has an extraordinary grasp of medical evidence' (Chambers and Partners 2020).

She was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2019 for her work in the law.



You can read a summary of the session here