Leading planning and environment silk Duncan Ouseley QC is leaving 4-5 Gray's Inn Square to join the High Court Bench.
Ouseley's sudden departure coincides with the arrival of Philip Vallance QC from Robert Seabrook QC's chambers 1 Crown Office Row, and public law specialist Professor Ingrid Detter Frankopan QC, who is to become a door-tenant from merged chancery set Serle Court.
Vallance specialises in environmental law but also has a professional negligence and liability practice.
The departure will come as a blow to the set, which has faced difficulties after libel silk George Carman QC retired through ill-health and commercial and European silk Stuart Isaacs QC joined 3-4 South Square. Another four tenants also departed, two for 11 King's Bench Walk and two for Brick Court Chambers.
The current system adopted by the Lord Chancellor's Department does not give barristers the opportunity to complete cases, as it has not implemented an advance notice period, so a replacement will have to be found for Ouseley's uncompleted work.
Neither 4-5 Gray's Inn or the Lord Chancellor's Department would comment on the appointment, but sources reveal that it will be announced today (23 October).
Senior clerk Michael Kaplan at 4-5 Gray's Inn says: "We're delighted with the arrival of new recruits Philip Vallance and Ingrid Detter Frankopan, and hope this is the start of many more."