Ex-tenant sued for £7,000

A HEAD of chambers is suing a former tenant for failing to pay more than £7,000 to the set before he left.

In a writ issued at the High Court, Martin Thomas QC, head of chambers at 1 Dr Johnson's Buildings, claims Ashitey Ollennu owes £7,866.

Ollennu, who now practises at Wilfred Forster-Jones' 1 Middle Temple Lane, is prepared to defend the action but says he would prefer to negotiate with the set.

Although he stresses he did not face discrimination at his former chambers, he blames his financial problems on the difficulties that black barristers face obtaining work at the Bar.

The writ says Ollennu failed to honour an agreement with former head of chambers Lord Hooson QC to pay 14 per cent of all gross fees (net of VAT) received for his work while he was at the chambers which he joined in June 1992.

The chambers would not comment on the writ, but Ollennu says he has written seeking talks with set.

"I don't think it needed to have come to this," he says.

"It is difficult for black people to get a toe-hold at the Bar. I was in financial difficulties and I'm trying to work my way out of this."