St James’s Chambers raids rival to bolster chancery team

Manchester-based St James’s Chambers is celebrating a coup after the hire of four senior barristers from Cobden House Chambers.

Charles Machin, Sarah Harrison, Sean Kelly and Jonathan Smith join the set today, bringing with them between 12 and 30 years of experience. Machin is a specialist litigator, Kelly a company law expert and Smith a local government practitioner, while Harrison focuses on trusts.

It is believed the move was prompted by the incompatibility between the commercial and chancery interests of the four barristers and the crime and personal injury profile of Cobden. Harrison told The Lawyer: “We were keen to do more chancery litigation and to raise our profile in Manchester.” Experienced chancery clerk Steve Diggles was another reason for the move. The appointments will take the barrister-count of St James’s chancery team to 13, with 26 in total.