It is with profound sadness that we share the news of the untimely and shocking death of our friend and colleague Michael McParland QC yesterday.
Michael was a brilliant lawyer and advocate. He was called to the bar in 1983 and took silk in 2017. He was a very great and renowned scholar in jurisdictional matters and his book, The Rome I Regulation attracted high praise from practitioners, Judges and the academic world. He appeared in many high profile cases, performing with very great distinction in the commercial law arena. He was always meticulously prepared and ready for anything from the Bench. He was highly regarded by his clients for his knowledge of international law and his trial advocacy skills in complex, heavy cases: skills he first developed in chambers with the late George Carman QC. Michael was also licensed to practise as an Attorney-at-Law, by the State Bar of California, and as a barrister in the British Virgin Islands and regularly practised in jurisdictions around the world.
Michael is perhaps best known to the general public for his work as a legal commentator for televised US trials for Sky News, The BBC, ITV and other TV and radio stations, a role he performed regularly since the trial of Louise Woodward in 1997, for which he won The Daily Mail’s television critic’s “Star of the Year”. He became a media star, doing a nightly commentary on the OJ Simpson trial for Sky News. One of his last TV appearances was to be among the first commentators to recognise the cataclysmic effect of the Duke of York’s Newsnight interview. On those shows he was himself – insightful, thorough, fluent and charming. It was impossible not to like him.
Michael joined 39 Essex Chambers in 2018 after practising for nearly 19 years at Quadrant Chambers. We were so pleased when he came to 39. We will remember him for his huge kindness, generosity of spirit and for his love of life. He was gregarious and great company. He was generous, friendly and cheerful. He was a good friend to us all. His loss is a complete tragedy.
He was a most devoted family man and our sympathies are with his wife, Sally and his beloved girls Emily and Molly.