A native of Portadown, Mr Charles Michael Lavery QC, who rose to become ‘one of the outstanding advocates of his generation’, passed away aged 84.
From humble beginnings Michael was highly regarded as a man with a keen sense of fairness whose sharp intellect was much sought after in his chosen profession.
Michael, whose mother had a hair salon in Portadown’s Church Place, attended the Christian Brothers Grammar School in Armagh before attending Queen’s University, Belfast.
He later went to Trinity College in Dublin.
He was called to the Bar in 1956 and ‘took silk’ as a QC in 1971.
As a barrister he acted in many high profile cases, including representing a number of Bloody Sunday families at the Saville Inquiry. Indeed he cross-examined former Prime Minister Edward Heath during that inquiry.
Mr Lavery met his wife, Dr Antje Lavery, a German native who came to NI in the 1960s and they had five children.
He was one of the oldest practising barristers in Ireland, having practised for over 60 years.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: “Michael Lavery QC was one of the outstanding advocates of his generation.
“His skilful, persuasive style was enhanced by his powerful intellect and an appropriate level of humour.
“It made him very effective,” said the Lord Chief Justice.
“Despite the success he achieved in his profession he was always to the fore in promoting the interests of young lawyers and providing assistance and encouragement to all he encountered.
“His passing will be deeply mourned by all in the legal profession.”
Portadown solicitor Sean Hagan said: “I had the enormous pleasure of knowing Michael Lavery for most of his professional career.
“He was an acknowledged expert in legal matters with a very sharp and clear intellect,” said Mr Hagan.
“He was enormously persuasive and a man of the greatest good humour.
“He continually demonstrated his desire to advance his clients’ interests usually with very considerable success.
“It was a pleasure of have known and worked with him,” he said.
Sara Ramsey, chair of the Bar of Northern Ireland, also described Mr Lavery as a “much loved and highly respected colleague”.
“Michael Lavery QC had a long and distinguished career during which he acted in many notable cases and he cited his involvement in DPP v Lynch in the House of Lords and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry as being amongst some of his most important work.
“He remained in active practice until 2017 and was the Father of the Bar up until his retirement.
“His immeasurable contribution to the Bar throughout his long career will endure and be fondly remembered by us all.”
Mr Lavery died peacefully at Nazareth Care Village in Belfast on April 25.
He was the beloved husband of the late Antje and loving father of Gisela, Michael, Finbar, Ronan and Anneliese.
His funeral was on Tuesday (April 30) with Requiem Mass at St Brigid’s Church, Belfast followed by interment in Roselawn Cemetery.
His passing will be deeply regretted by his loving sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, his 11 grandchildren, his sister Mairead and wider family circle.