Top Euro set looks to history for relaunch

John Malpas reports

A LEADING European law set has discarded its traditional name in favour of a more distinctive title.

Four Raymond Buildings has relaunched itself as Monckton Chambers, named after one of its founder members Sir Walter Monckton, who advised Edward VIII on his abdication.

The name change coincides with Richard Fowler QC's election as head of chambers at the set. Fowler, who replaces Jeremy Lever QC, said there were longer term advantages in practising under a specific name rather than an address.

"In particular, with continuing expansion, we cannot necessarily expect to remain at the same location and a chambers name, once established, will provide a measure of portability," he said.

He said the set's new name reflects its historical roots.

In recent years the chambers has won itself a formidable reputation for its expertise in European Community Law.

But Fowler, a UK and EU competition law specialist, said there was still room to develop the set's European practice.

"I am especially keen to emphasise the ability of chambers to field a team in relation to the ever-increasing number of commercial cases with a European aspect," he said.

Monckton Chambers is one of only a handful of sets within the Inns of Court which has decided to abandon the established practice of relying on its address for a name.

Last year Michael Burton QC's 2 Crown Office Row set moved into a brand new building nearby and adopted the new name Littleton Chambers after the building's title.

Chief executive David Douglas said the set's new identity had swiftly become established. He identified continuity as the key advantage of a new name especially if a set was planning a move or shared an address with several other chambers.

"When several chambers share an address they tend to be known by their head of chambers," he said.

"If a new head of chambers is elected at fairly regular intervals it may become confusing for clients."