The members and staff of Old Square Chambers were devastated to learn of the sudden passing of Toby Kempster on 17th March 2023. Toby was called in 1980 and began his career at the bar in 1983 as a member of 15 Old Square, becoming one of the founding members of Old Square Chambers in 1987. He read law at Leicester University, where he met Beverley, his wife.
In his early days of practice, typically for a common law practitioner at that time, Toby covered a diverse range of cases, from driving without due care and attention trials to Company Court litigation. With the advent of specialisation Toby focused predominately on Employment and Personal Injury Law
Toby built a flourishing practice. He had a particular expertise in industrial disease work. He received instructions from the leading firms of solicitors in this area of litigation. He also had extensive experience in conducting catastrophic injury litigation and Fatal Accident claims. He was an outstanding advocate, always calm and unflustered no matter how fierce the fight. Opponents, instructing solicitors and staff were treated with courtesy and kindness and they all held him in high esteem.
Toby’s colleagues in Old Square Chambers will remember him not just for his outstanding qualities as a barrister, but for so much more. He was a caring and diligent pupil supervisor to many current tenants at Old Square, who owe much to the time, training and kindness he gave them in pupillage.
Toby was heavily involved in the management and administration of Chambers throughout his career. He was a Deputy Head of Chambers and for many years the ‘Head’ of the Bristol Annexe. He was always a voice of calm and good sense in the more fraught moments in the life of a set of Chambers. Toby was generous in giving up his time for interviewing staff, pupils and prospective tenants. He would speak regularly at seminars and conferences.
Perhaps Toby’s defining characteristic as a member of Chambers was his unfailing good humour; he had the ability to lighten a room as soon as he entered it with a jovial or witty remark, whether it be the clerks room, a Chambers’ event or simply greeting a colleague.
Toby was a man of hidden talents, beyond his outstanding career as a Barrister. He was an outstanding yachtsman including sailing across the Atlantic. He was an excellent skier and a lover of the outdoor life.
All of us at Old Square Chambers have lost a true friend and one of the finest examples of how to conduct yourself in professional life. He has been a credit to his profession and has represented the finest qualities of the Bar.
Our priority is to support his family, we send our heartfelt condolences to Beverley and their two children, Nick and Fiona and their extended families.
William Meade (Senior Clerk)