5 King’s Bench swoops as Mitre Court closes

Mitre Court Chambers has dissolved after 20 years, resulting in 16 barristers moving to 5 King’s Bench Walk.`The group moving to Brian Higgs QC’s specialist criminal set includes Mitre Court’s head John Burton. Others have found new homes or are in the process of negotiations.`Mitre Court’s three clerks, including Bill Ingleton who has been with the set for nine years and practice manager Alistair Adams, have all been made redundant. None are following the members to their new sets.`Adams said: “The chambers lease came up for renewal but the members were not prepared to sign it. They feel safer in bigger numbers, although the set has been involved in some very big cases of late.”`Mitre Court’s senior-junior criminal and personal injury barrister Ian Bridge has moved to Birmingham set 5 Fountain Court. He said: “5 Fountain has a reputation for being very busy and efficient. It also covers more than just crime so there are more opportunities for mixed practitioners to work there.”`Last year, having outgrown its chambers in Mitre Court Buildings, the set moved to the fourth floor of 199 Strand in Temple.`Bill Ingleton joined the set in March 1993 soon after chambers head Richard Mandel left. He left together with several barristers and three clerks including John Bowker and John Harwood to form 11 Bolt Court, which has since merged with 7 Stone Buildings to form Clarendon Chambers. Mandel is now at Francis Taylor Building. Their departure left just 16 barristers at Mitre Court, but by 1996 the set had increased its number to 23.`Ingleton said: “When I joined I was told by others in Temple that we wouldn’t last six months because they thought John Bowker took all the clients with him. But we had our own contacts.”`In 1997, Ingleton’s clerk Robert Ruegg left the set with James Cartright and Anthony Montgomery to join Fleet Chambers, which subsequently merged with 2 King’s Bench Walk.`The remaining members moving are Leslie Wise to 10 King’s Bench Walk (Claudius Algar), Pieter Briegel to Bridewell Chambers, Neil Mercer to One King’s Bench Walk, Philip Brown and Mukhtiar Otwal to 7 Bedford Row, and Max Thorowgood to 17 Bedford Row. Nicholas Storey and newcomer Alex Stein are negotiating new placements. Julia Goring joined the civil service last year.