Introducing Julian Phillips, Honorary Consul of Finland in Cardiff

Introducing Julian Phillips, Honorary Consul of Finland in Cardiff

Ten up in our article series introducing the Honorary Consuls of Finland in the United Kingdom is Julian Phillips. Mr Phillips was appointed as Honorary Consul of Finland for Cardiff in 2001.

Mr Phillips was admitted as a solicitor in 1980 and as a Notary Public in 1991. He dealt with many different areas of law in private practice. He developed a particular interest in human rights, immigration and asylum law. During his time in private practice Mr Phillips made regular appearances as a ‘radio lawyer’ with BBC Wales, Red Dragon and, mostly remotely, with KBLA in Los Angeles. He collaborated on a book ‘Diplomatic Crime’ published in the USA.

Mr Phillips became a part time Tribunal Judge in 2000 and was appointed full time in 2002. He became a Designated Judge in 2009 responsible for supervising a group of about 40 judges. In 2015 Mr Phillips was appointed Resident Judge in Wales responsible for the leadership and management of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber in Wales and South West England. He has been national Training Judge since the beginning of 2014 breaking a long line of academic and distinguished predecessors.

Since taking on the training role Mr Phillips has become actively involved with judicial training in Europe and further afield and, at the last count, has prepared and delivered training in 9 countries to judges of more than 30 different nationalities.

Mr Phillips most memorable trips to Finland have included taking his then 7-year-old son to see the Father Christmas in Pikku-Syöte and staying in the Finnish Lakeland and going to the opera in Savonlinna.

1. How did you end up as an Honorary Consul for Finland?

I was a solicitor and notary public and various Consuls used to come to my office when they had documents that needed to be notarised, amongst them the Finnish Consul. One day in 1999/2000 the Finnish Consul made an appointment and I assumed he had a document to notarise. He did not. Instead he told me that he was retiring and had been asked by the Embassy to suggest a successor and he thought of me. I was both surprised and flattered. Shortly afterwards I received an invitation to lunch at the Ambassador’s residence with the Consul and the Ambassador (Pertti Salolainen) and found the third luncheon guest was the former President Martti Ahtisaari. I think the lunch was really an informal interview! Following this I was approved as Consul and the appointment procedure commenced.

2. What do you enjoy most in your role as an Honorary Consul?

Interaction with the Finnish community in Wales and involvement on behalf of the Embassy with civic life in Wales.

3. What is Finland known for in your area?


4. What do you wish people in your area knew more about Finland?

Tourism opportunities.

5. What does your area have to offer for Finns or Finnish companies?

For Finns to visit a country that is separate from the rest of the United Kingdom with a unique geography and its own culture and identity. For companies a cost effective working environment with excellent transport links to the rest of the United Kingdom and also to Ireland.

6. What is your favourite Finnish word or expression? Why?

I’m not a linguist so I think it’s safest to choose a simple word – ‘kippis’ because it is the word that I use the most often. Kalsarikannit came a close second!

Finland has about 400 honorary consulates around the world, of which 19 in the United Kingdom. Honorary Consuls promote economic, political, academic and cultural relations between Finland and the UK, and monitor the rights of Finnish citizens in their sphere of operation. They can for example guide and assist in contacts with the local authorities or the embassy. However, their possibilities to provide assistance are limited, nor for instance can they grant a passport.

Read more: 
Honorary Consulate of Finland, Cardiff
Introducing Camilla Carlbom Flinn, Honorary Consul of Finland in Immingham, Grimsby & Hull
Introducing Stephen Bolton, Honorary Consul of Finland in Nottingham
Introducing Tina McKenzie, Honorary Consul of Finland in Belfast
Introducing James Ryeland, Honorary Consul of Finland in Dover
Introducing Christina Tolvas-Vincent, Honorary Consul of Finland in Southampton
Introducing Chris Rostron, Honorary Consul of Finland in Manchester
Introducing Jill Sanders, Honorary Consul of Finland in Plymouth
Introducing Geoffrey Berriman, Honorary Consul of Finland in Newcastle upon Tyne
Introducing John Gibson, Honorary Consul of Finland in Liverpool