35 Essex Street deserts the Inns

The Inns are to lose yet another tenant in September when 35 Essex Street quits Temple for commercial premises. The set’s departure will mean that almost 50 sets have quit the Inns over the past few years.
Christopher Wilson-Smith QC’s chambers follows Brick Court, Essex Court, 199 Strand, Keating, Landmark and 20 Essex Street out of Temple.
Many sets have become increasingly frustrated with the rising costs of residing in the Inns – last year, Lincoln’s Inn raised the cost of premium space to £56 per square foot. There is also concern that some of the Inns are phasing out the traditional benefits of an Inn tenancy, principally the three-month break clause and minimal repairing and redecorating covenants.
However, not all the Inns have followed the lead set by Lincoln’s Inn. Gray’s Inn maintains the three-month break clause and has suffered only one departure in the last year, and that was the result of a chambers dissolution.
The reduction in cost of commercial leases, with some space now available for as little as £25 per square foot, has led many more sets to review their property arrangements. 35 Essex Street tenant Richard Lissack QC said that even on the most pessimistic budgeting, the set would make a considerable saving.
As revealed in last week’s Lawyer News Weekly, the set, to be renamed Outer Temple Chambers, is doubling its amount of office space to 16,000sq ft.