Michael Beloff QC drops names – but they’re not the ones we’re curious about

‘The law,’ according to W.S. Gilbert’s Lord Chancellor, ‘is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent’ and, by common consent, Michael Beloff QC has been one of the prime exemplars of that excellence over the past 50 years. While he may not enjoy the profile of contemporaries such as Helena Kennedy, Michael Mansfield and Geoffrey Robertson, the Times, on his retirement, described him as ‘one of the great ornaments of the Bar’, and he himself notes that he has argued more than 475 reported cases (a lawyer’s way of assessing their significance). In a more dubious honour, he has appeared in two novels by his friend Jeffrey Archer. He explains