BORN LONDON, APRIL 11, 1949. DIED LONDON, MAY 2, 2008, AGED 59.
CHAIRMAN OF the Competition Appeal Tribunal, Marion Simmons QC provided vital leadership and encouragement while overseeing many significant decisions.
She pioneered direct access to the Bar and the establishment of structured advocacy training schemes for the Inns of Court, to the benefit of student barristers. She gained many friendships from her lectures in Britain, Europe and China.
Her father, Sidney, left school at 14 and went into the family furniture business. He and his wife, Bella, instilled the importance of education in her and their surviving daughter, Jenny.
Brought up in Finchley, North London, Marion went to Jewish primary school at Kerem, followed by Hendon County School. She graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London, with both a bachelor and master’s degree in law.
Qualifying as a barrister in 1970, she became a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1993 — one of the first female juniors to do so. She was appointed QC in 1994 and a recorder in 1998. Throughout her career, she appeared in many significant and reported legal cases. She was appointed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in 2003.
Her roles in other organisations included serving as vice-chairman of the appeals committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal Restricted Patients Panel 2000, and Assistant Boundary Commissioner 2000.
Only a few months ago, in October 2007, she was appointed to chair the Persons Appointed Panel of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. She persevered on material for that panel and for the Competition Appeal Tribunal up to a few days before her death.
Despite her busy career, she was always generous with her time for others. In particular, she helped create the innovative Prince of Wales Chair in childhood epilepsy. She loved music, theatre and entertaining at her house in Sussex. She was one of the first elected women members of The Athenaeum Club in London, after it removed its men-only restrictions. She was also a fellow of the Royal College of Medicine.
When told that her cancer left her only a week or two of life, she let colleagues know and was surprised and comforted by the hundreds of messages and visits from the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, down.
Lord Woolf paid tribute to her as a “wonderful lawyer and a very brave lady”, who had made an immense contribution to the legal profession.
Marion Simmons: appeals chair