London Borough of Hackney legal chief Gifty Edila is reviewing the authority’s barristers panel in a bid to cut down its £6m annual legal spend.
Hackney was the first local authority in the UK to set up a panel of barristers, formalising the roster of around 15 chambers in September 2006. Sets on the current list include 4 Brick Court, 39 Essex Street and Tanfield Chambers.
Edila said she is not necessarily looking to reduce the number of chambers on the list, but would be focusing of getting better value for money.
“There’s financial pressure on us,” she conceded. “We want quality, but at a good price. We really have to move away from high profit margins, because we are public sector after all.”
Edila, who joined Hackney from the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea at the beginning of this year, plans to finalise the new panel by 2010.