Matrix delighted to announce Julian B. Knowles QC appointed as a Justice of the High Court


Matrix Chambers are delighted to announce that Julian B. Knowles QC has been appointed as a Justice of the High Court. He will sit in the Queen’s Bench Division from 2nd October 2017.

Julian was born and grew up in Wythenshawe, a large council estate in south Manchester, where he attended the local comprehensive school. He read Mathematics at Balliol College, Oxford, and was one of the first generation of his family to attend university. Julian initially intended to be a mathematician, and had places both at Cambridge to read for the Part III Tripos, and at Oxford to read for a DPhil, but was inspired to become a barrister after spending the summer of 1990 working as a volunteer paralegal with death row prisoners in Oklahoma.

Julian was called to the Bar in 1994 and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 2011, as a Recorder in 2009, and as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2017. Julian specialised in complex criminal law, extradition, human rights law, public law and media law. He appeared in over 30 cases in the Supreme Court, House of Lords, and Privy Council, and made many significant contributions to the development of the law in his areas of expertise. Most recently, he overturned 30 years of jurisprudence when he successfully persuaded the Supreme Court and Privy Council in Jogee and Ruddock to reform the law of joint enterprise.

During his career Julian appeared in numerous high-profile cases including the Pinochet extradition case; the Siôn Jenkins murder case; the Dewani ‘honeymoon murder’ extradition case; the Vicky Pryce/Chris Huhne ‘points swapping’ case; the Kenneth Noye M25 murder; the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes; the MPs’ expenses prosecutions; and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment war crimes court martial. He was also one of the counsel team which brought a number of constitutional appeals in the Privy Council in capital cases, resulting in a number of restrictions on the use of the death penalty in the Caribbean.

Julian has written a number of books in his practice areas, and is the co-author of the leading extradition textbook, Nicholls, Montgomery and Knowles, The Law of Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance (OUP, 2013).

All at Matrix wish Julian well in his future career. He will be missed.