Three city councils have undertaken the UK's firstever joint panel review for barristers, appointing 29 sets, including No 5 Chambers, St Phillips Chambers and Hardwicke Building.
Derby, Leicester and Stoke-on-Trent councils joined forces to launch the review in April 2006 (The Lawyer, 5 June 2006).
The contracts begin with immediate effect for a term of four years and cover the full spectrum of law, from property and planning to education, civil litigation and antisocial behaviour orders.
The panel is designed to achieve savings required by the Government's Gershon efficiency review, which urged local authorities to combine procurement to achieve economies of scale.
As well as discounted rates, the joint panel is also to provide perks, including free training for the authorities' in-house lawyers.
Other chambers to have won places on the panel include 7 Bedford Row, 36 Bedford Row, 1 Chancery Lane, Devereux Chambers, Enterprise Chambers, 5 Essex Court, Essex Court Chambers, Exchange Chambers, 1 Gray's Inn Square, 13KBW, 12 King's Bench Walk, Outer Temple Chambers and 5 Paper Buildings.
The London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow and Hounslow are expected to make a similar announcement in the coming weeks, having already launched a joint panel review.