Anthony Arlidge KC 1937-2023

January 30, 2023

It is with very great sadness that we announce the death of Anthony Arlidge KC, who died on Friday 27 January.

Tony was a member of these Chambers throughout his career at the Bar and was Head of Chambers between 1997 until 2002 taking over from David Cocks QC following our move from 5 Kings Bench Walk to 18 Red Lion Court. He was one of the best-known advocates at the Criminal Bar: famed for his intellectual ability, irreverent boldness, unstoppable humour and love of the law. He was an extraordinarily talented and charismatic man, a gifted raconteur with an infectious laugh. Tony was also a brilliant satirist. The Allsludge Reports enlivened many an overlong case and although he lampooned judges, fellow barristers and others in court, the first person he satirised was always himself. Every barrister or solicitor who ever worked with him will have an Arlidge story, usually many stories. He never noticed age differences and gave freely of his time to all members, young and old. He was a huge supporter of the junior bar, ever willing to lend a listening ear, and was a mentor and a great friend to many.

Tony was also the quintessential Renaissance man: an author of legal texts, historical books and literature, as well as being involved with a number of charities. Tony’s childhood desire was to be a ballet-dancer, which he abandoned, instead reading Law at Cambridge, where he was also a notable actor. He had many friends from those Cambridge years including Ian McKellen and Julian Curry (amongst many other roles Claude Erskine-Brown in Rumpole). At the Bar, he was involved in numerous high-profile cases and was appointed Silk in 1981.

His love of the theatre and literature, especially the works of Shakespeare, and his thespian talents never left him. Many members of Chambers were corralled into the staging of ‘Revels’ in the Middle Temple which included medieval dancing! As Master of Music in the Inn for many years, he catered for all musical tastes from highbrow to jazz and from concerts to musical dinner and dances. He also staged a number of theatrical productions and collaborated with many famous theatrical names, including Mark Rylance, Martin Shaw and Richard Griffiths.

He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him. Despite his legendary skill and confidence, he was at heart a sensitive, modest and self-deprecating man and in accordance with his firm wishes there will be no funeral or memorial service.

Letters of condolences, which will be passed onto the family, can be sent to RLC Practice Director/Senior Clerk: Mark Bennet, Red Lion Chambers, 18 Red Lion Court, London, EC4A 3EB.