Hardwicke Building reports 16 per cent turnover hike

Hardwicke Building has celebrated a turnover rise of 16 per cent in its first full year as a purely civil set.

Chambers’ income rose to almost £10m during its 2004-05 financial year, which runs from October to September. In summer 2004, the criminal and fraud practices of Hardwicke broke away to become 15 New Bridge Street, headed by Patrick Upward QC, while Nigel Jones QC became Hardwicke’s sole head of chambers.

Although the revenue per barrister figure of around £150,000 is still low compared to other commercial sets, 16 per cent growth is higher than most chambers achieved last year. Hardwicke has 65 members, including three silks.

First established in the late 70s, Hardwicke decided to demerge its 48-strong criminal team last year, after several high-profile departures. In June 2002, Romie Tager QC and six colleagues left to set up Selborne Chambers.

Hardwicke and 15 New Bridge Street have maintained links, including operating joint training for pupils to ensure they gain both civil and criminal advocacy experience.

Jones said that the mood in chambers is positive, and that Hardwicke would be looking to fill some of the space vacated by the criminal team with new civil tenants.

Chief executive Ann Buxton said: “We’re delighted with what we’ve achieved this year. We recognise we’ve got to work very hard to continue this progress.”