Dr. Fuad Matthew Caswell
25 August 2023
Those of us in chambers who remember Fuad Matthew Caswell were saddened to read of his death earlier this month. He had retired from the bar in 2009 but had gone on to lead a very full life in Oxford where he was able to focus on his academic studies and writing.
Born in Baghdad, Matthew arrived in England in 1950 to continue his education. In due course he was to marry Helen Caswell and to pursue the law as a career. He was called to the bar in 1968 and, in order to improve his prospects of establishing a practice, he took Helen’s last name. Helen hailed from Yorkshire and the North Eastern Circuit was to benefit from that connection. Their children were born here and Rebecca and Ben were in due course to follow his footsteps to the bar.
Matthew joined KBW from what was then Six Park Square in the mid 1980s. Just as we were spreading our wings outside of London and leasing larger premise in Leeds, he was continuing to forge ahead in his chosen field of chancery, which jurisdiction had only recently been extended to embrace the North Eastern Circuit. He had the distinction of being the only member of chambers to have a room allocated exclusively to him, but his door was always open to those seeking help. Patient, courteous and avuncular, his responses were as meticulously clear and pertinent as I imagine his written advices to have been; not that this author would have understood the latter.
Matthew had written all his life and he was first published while still in Baghdad. Jayne Turner, now our Senior Clerk, recalls being invited in 1997 to join him in London for the performance at the Riverside Studios of his play concerning the wrongful conviction of Stefan Ivan Kiszko of the murder of Lesley Molseed. After returning to Oxford University, he completed his doctorate in Arabic at Wadham College; his thesis was published as “The Slave Girls of Baghdad: The Qiyān in the Early Abbasid Era.” He went on to publish novels, short stories and plays which were inspired by ancient and modern life in Baghdad, tackled injustice and often touched on his own experiences. “Menashi’s Boy” was such a collection and the last chapter found him reflecting on life on the North Eastern Circuit. He was a terrific teller of tales and his published work is a great deal more inductive than his opinions in chancery, sought after though they were!
Matthew lived a long and fulfilling life, one in which we at KBW were happy to share for many years. We send our deepest condolences to Rebecca and Ben in particular, but to all who were close to him.