One Garden Court’s speciality aims dashed by Carter reforms

Family law chambers One Garden Court has set a long-term target to become London’s pre-eminent chambers in its field, but sees the Carter reforms as a major hurdle.

Recently appointed joint head of chambers Stephen Cobb QC said that the set’s ambitions are “entirely achievable”, but “the greatest challenge will come from the reforms to the delivery of the publicly funded work”.

“I’m extremely concerned about the effect that the legal aid reform programme will have on many solicitors in the family field,” he added. “I’m sure we’ll see an exodus of experienced, specialist solicitors and this will inevitably have a knock-on effect for the bar.”

Cobb also said that the family bar will be directly affected if the graduated fee scheme is dismantled.

“In 2001 when the family graduated fee scheme was introduced, a number of family practitioners ceased to do public work and I can see the bar haemorrhaging talent if the outlined proposals by the Legal Services Commission stay as they are,” he said.

The loss of talent for One Garden Court could hinder the set from reaching its goal as it attempts to take on experienced specialist barristers who are willing to do publicly funded work.