Nicholls Lecture Series - Mr John Vater, QC


17 January 2019

Mr John Vater, QC, Barrister and Arbitrator, gave an inspirational lecture to sixth form students about the importance resilience, courage, effort, determination, as well as hard work, as part of the weekly Nicholls Lecture Series. 

By Esme Brennan, Lower Sixth Student

Mr John Vater, QC, Barrister and Arbitrator, gave an inspirational lecture about the importance resilience, courage, effort, determination as well as hard work. 

Mr Vater studied law at Oxford University and received a scholarship to Bar School, after only achieving 6 GCSEs.  In 2012, he became part of the QC.

The lecture opened with a story of his start in life at Birkenhead School before embarking on his journey to receiving a place from Oxford. When he successfully obtained AAB at A level he realised that what was important was the ability to take knocks and to have determination as well as working hard as this can set you apart from others.


He then went on to give us an insight into his work as a Barrister, specialising in children’s head injuries. His job was intriguing for the Sixth form as it is to defend people accused of inflicting these injuries. The idea of being able to tell whether someone was guilty of such an unimaginable crime was especially fascinating to me, with him telling us he must understand the witness to be able to pick the right choice of words for them and ask questions in the right way.

Not only is he faced with extremely serious cases everyday, the stakes in these cases are so high as whatever the outcome, the decisions can have great consequences. The privilege of being protection for normal people and change lives, he said was the greatest motivation in his work.

He concluded by reminding us the importance of courage and resilience.  Mr Vater will be awarding a prize to the most resilient sixth form student each year, who will be picked by the students themselves.

Mr Vater is the latest speaker in the weekly Nicholls Lecture Series, which provides Sixth Form students with thought-provoking lectures on a broad range of topics, to introduce them to ideas, interests and experiences beyond the academic curriculum.