Three Raymond Buildings Awards the Fourth Nicholls Prize for Advocacy

Congratulations to Natalie Nguyen, winner of the 2021 Gray’s Inn Moot Final, and to Alice Defriend who was first runner up.  We are delighted to award them the fourth Nicholls Prize, with £1,000 awarded to Natalie and £500 to Alice.

The final took place on Monday 10 May 2021.  As with the 2020 final, it was successfully held over Zoom, thanks to the sterling work of the Gray’s Inn Education and Training Department.  3RB was represented by James Lewis QC, Joint Head of Chambers and a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.   Despite the obvious challenges of running an advocacy-based competition remotely, the evening was a great success and all the organisers and finalists should be congratulated for a marvellous job.

About the Winners

We normally like to invite our winners in to Chambers to meet members and receive their awards.  Unfortunately we have had to arrange a ‘virtual prizegiving’ this year, but we can tell you a little bit about them:

Natalie Nguyen studied Ancient and Modern History at the University of Oxford before undertaking a postgraduate degree in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Following this, she completed the GDL and then the Bar Course at City, University of London.

Whilst on the GDL, Natalie worked part-time as a public law caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, assisting victims of trafficking and asylum seekers with their cases, in particular by drafting conclusive grounds representations, drafting witness statements and liaising with medical, country and trafficking experts. On the Bar Course, she also worked part-time as a research assistant to Professor Cathryn Costello on issues relating to EU migration and asylum law and as a freelancer with a legal tech company. Natalie has secured pupillage at Monckton Chambers and hopes to build a broad practice across EU & competition, commercial, data protection and public law. 

Alice Defriend studied for the LLB at Durham University and graduated in 2019. She then completed the LLM at the University of Cambridge in 2020. She is currently working as a Judicial Assistant in the Court of Appeal whilst simultaneously studying part-time for the Bar at the Inns of Courts College of Advocacy, having been fortunate enough to receive a BPTC scholarship from Gray’s Inn. As a Judicial Assistant, she has thoroughly enjoyed working on appeals covering a broad range of areas including, but not limited to, employment, public, immigration and tax law.

She recently secured pupillage at Devereux Chambers which she looks forward to starting in 2022.

We wish them both every success with their careers at the Bar.


About the Nicholls Prize

Our prize was founded in 2018 in memory of Clive Nicholls QC.  Clive died in February 2017, aged 84.   He had been a member of Chambers for 60 years and was Head of Chambers from 1994 until 2010.  He was still a valued member of Chambers, active in advisory work well beyond his 80th birthday.

Clive was called to the Bar in 1957. He had graduated with his twin brother, Colin Nicholls QC, who is still a member of chambers, from Trinity College, Dublin and both became leading lights in their respective fields after joining Chambers.  Clive took silk in 1980, he sat as a Recorder of the Crown Court between 1984 and 1999 and became a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1989.

Clive’s was a stellar career. He had a wide range of work and was able to apply his mind to legal issues in a number of disciplines.  He specialised in extradition and the roll-call of cases in which he appeared speaks for itself – Nielsen (a landmark case which overturned 100 years of extradition law), Pinochet, Osman, and many other high profile matters.  He appeared in courts all over the world and was internationally acknowledged as a leader in his field.

Throughout Clive’s practice, and in his 16 years as Head of Chambers, he was a genuine father-figure and mentor, ever humorous, radiating dynamism and energy beyond his years and always making himself available to help other members of Chambers. He embodied and exemplified all the virtues of the Bar as a profession: he was a man of integrity who took great pleasure in his work and whose courtesy to fellow barristers never wavered, even in the most hard fought of cases.

We are proud to associate our award with the Gray’s Inn Moot Final, continuing a tradition we started with the DuCann Advocacy Prize, which ran from 2008 to 2017.  We look forward to the next ten years honouring the memory of Clive Nicholls QC.

21st May 2021

Related Barristers