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The number of cases reaching the Court of Appeal is continuing to drop, while the House of Lords remains busy with a slew of administrative and public law issues.
Research carried out for The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report 2006 shows that barristers in the UK's top 30 sets appeared in the Court of Appeal nearly 100 fewer times in 2005 than in 2004.
In total the top 30 sets paid 1,232 visits to the appeal court last year, compared with 1,322 in 2004. But there was barely any difference in the number of House of Lords appearances, which totalled 165 in 2005 compared with 170 in 2004. Commercial set 39 Essex Street continues to top the Court of Appeal table with 109 appearances last year. But that figure has dropped considerably from 2003, when 39 Essex Street members went to the appeal court 175 times.
Once again public and administrative law and human rights cases dominated the Lords, giving Matrix Chambers a host of cases in the UK's highest court.
The set shot to the top of the Lords table with 35 appearances last year, with cases including the historic December 2005 victory for a number of detainees against the Government on the use of evidence gained through torture. 11 King's Bench Walk entered the House of Lords table for the first time with 21 appearances, the majority by First Treasury Junior Philip Sales, who was recently appointed silk.
But Blackstone Chambers had a quieter year in 2005 than in 2003 and 2004, appearing in just 13 House of Lords cases compared with 29 the previous year.
Most appearances in House of Lords Rank Chambers Appearances 1 Matrix Chambers 35 2 11 King's Bench Walk 21 3 Blackstone Chambers 13 4= 39 Essex Street 12 4= 4-5 Gray's Inn Square 12 1 Blackstone Chambers 29 2 Matrix Chambers 21 3 39 Essex Street 20 4 Essex Court Chambers 16 5 Brick Court Chambers 11 Most appearances in court of appeal Rank Chambers Appearances 1 39 Essex Street 109 2 Matrix Chambers 75 3 Landmark Chambers 73 4= Exchange Chambers 72 4= Seven Bedford Row 72 1 39 Essex Street 121 2 St Philips 85 3 20 Essex Street 80 4 Blackstone Chambers 78 5 Matrix Chambers 76