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Len Woodley QC was England and Wales’ first black Silk. Throughout his long career at the Bar, specialising in crime, he appeared in trials with a political or civil liberties element, including the Brixton riots trials and the Mangrove Nine trial. He was instructed in the Scarman inquiry (into the 1981 Brixton riots), chaired the Laudat inquiry into mental health, and sat on the Royal Commission on long term care for the elderly.
Len was head of chambers (then based at 8 King’s Bench Walk) from 1988 to 2000. In 1988, he invited Nelson Mandela, who was then serving a life sentence, to be an honorary door tenant, as a mark of solidarity with the South African freedom struggle.
A Senior Bencher of the Inner Temple and a Recorder of the Crown Court for many years, he endowed the Leonard Woodley Scholarship at the Inner Temple, to be given to black or Asian pupils with a view to promoting greater diversity at the Bar.
Len is also a member of the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago, and is a patron of Plan UK.