Kirklees Council selects chambers for first barrister panel

Kirklees Metropolitan Council in West Yorkshire has created a panel for barristers, becoming one of the first local authorities in England and Wales to do so.

Eight chambers have won places on the panel, which consists of four sub-panels covering childcare, adult social services, employment and housing.

London’s 39 Essex Street Chambers has won a mandate for adult services work.

From Leeds, Zenith Chambers has won a place on the childcare and housing lists, No 6 has joined the employment sub-panel and Park Court Chambers is on the childcare and employment lists, while 37 Park Square Chambers and Park Lane Chambers have been added to the childcare panel.

From Manchester, St Johns Buildings joined the adult services, childcare, employment and housing sub-groups, while St John Street Chambers won a place on the employment list.

Kirklees is believed to be only the second local authority in England and Wales to have appointed a barristers panel following the London Borough of Hackney’s panel launch in 2005.

Derby, Leicester and Stoke-on-Trent councils first confirmed plans to launch a joint barristers panel 12 months ago (The Lawyer, 5 June 2006), but have not succeeded so far.

The Kirklees panel process began in January (The Lawyer, 15 January) and has been designed primarily to secure economies of scale. Head of legal services Susan Betteridge pledged to reduce the annual spend on counsel from £350,000 to £300,000 or less.