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Leading silk Michael Beloff QC has finally decided to join Matrix Chambers, but only after he has seen through the merger at his current set.
As revealed exclusively in The Lawyer (17 January) Beloff, currently a tenant and former head of 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, had been invited to join the new human rights set but was also considering offers from seven other leading chambers.
This is the second recent coup for Matrix after last week's silks list promoted tenants Ben Emmerson and Tim Owen.
Beloff says he is "reluctant" to leave 4-5 Gray's Inn until its merger with Monckton Chambers has been completed and will therefore remain for a further year.
"My present intention is then to join Matrix whose major interests in public and constitutional law with international and academic dimensions coincide with my own," he says.
Despite heavy lobbying from all sides, Beloff ultimately rejected a permanent continuation of his tenancy at 4-5 Gray's Inn or a move to other commercially focused sets.
Many sets, he says, are keen to break into public law because of the present decline in commercial and insurance work.
"Many commercial firms [of solicitors] haven't started any sets of proceedings for a year, largely because of mediation," he says.
"This is not so bad for solicitors but for a litigator it's a huge problem if they don't get to court. However, public law doesn't seem to diminish at all."