The London Borough of Hackney is preparing to set up its first barristers panel in an effort to rationalise the number of chambers it instructs.
As well as bringing cost benefits, the legal team at Hackney wants to improve the consistency of its representation. At the moment it instructs a number of chambers, including Devereux, 11 King's Bench Walk and Renaissance.
A meeting to decide the final criteria for the panel ispencilled in for next month. However, it has already been agreed that barristers' chambers that decide to pitch for the panel will have to show that they have a sound equal opportunities policy.
"Equal opportunities is a fundamental issue at Hackney," said deputy legal director Meic Sullivan-Gould. "Any chambers that wants to be on the panel will have to have it high on their agenda."
Hackney already operates a law firm panel, which it launched in 2003. It comprises Bircham Dyson Bell, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, DMH Stallard, Nabarro Nathanson, Sternberg Reed Taylor & Gill, Weightman Vizards and Wragge & Co. It also outsources some planning work to the London Borough of Camden's in-house team.