The commercial court of Mr Justice Andrew Smith was stuffed with barristers last Thursday, but one QC was the main focus of attention. The case was the challenge to bank charges that could affect every bank current account holder in Britain. At the original hearing in February, Laurence Rabinowitz
represented the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of eight lenders accused of levying unfair overdraft charges. It also fell to him to put the lead argument to the court for all the banks, saying that the alternative would be to charge on every transaction.
Mr Justice Smith’s ruling last week was hailed as a first-round victory for the customers. But the banks, who are likely to appeal, also won key points. Rabinowitz will be back in the public eye.
“The Commercial Bar is full of tremendous talent,” he says. “I’ve been lucky to be led by some of the best: Kentridge, Pollock and Sumption.” The quiet and modest star of One Essex Court — where 100 first-rate applicants chase each pupillage — the 47-year-old Rabinowitz is assuming the mantle of the great
Lord (Tony) Grabiner, his head of chambers, and fast becoming one of the few real stars at the Commercial Bar.