THE ADVOCATE 773
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
A ND MISCELLANEA
By Gordon Turriff, Q.C.
DINNERS WITH THE BARONESS—AND OTHER STORIES
I first met Ruth Deech at a conference in London in June 2010. I was there
promoting lawyer independence. She was there as chair of the UK Bar Standards
Board (“BSB”). That board regulates barristers in England and Wales.
I took to my new acquaintance naturally because she advocated for an independent
The Baroness Deech, D.B.E., Q.C., as she is also known, has an overflowing
CV. Her service to the United Kingdom has been extraordinary. Her
important work on the fledgling BSB (she is a lawyer) is only one example
of her many stellar accomplishments. She began her steady ascent to greatness
as a student and then tutorial fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. For
13 years she was the college principal. In 2005, a new college building was
named in her honour. Her other wide-ranging contributions to life in the
UK include her chairpersonship of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology
Authority, her work as a governor of the BBC and her having been the
first Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, with responsibility for
the resolution of student complaints. Currently she is a crossbench life peer
and a moderate Leaver.
As I recall, sometime during the summer of 2012 or 2013 my wife Ellen
and I hosted the baroness and her quiet husband John for dinner when they
visited Vancouver. Ellen and I decided we needed some intellectual firepower
to help us sustain conversation at the high level of discourse we
could expect. The question of who should fill that role was answered in a
moment. We needed Madam Justice Mary Newberry (as I have always affectionately
called her). Her Ladyship accepted our invitation and proved to
be a perfect guest: charming, erudite and quietly opinionated.
Baroness Deech and I kept up by e-mail. In 2014, I attended another London
conference. The baroness didn’t participate in that event but she