Former Department for Transport GC resurfaces at Monckton Chambers

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) former general counsel, Christopher Muttukumaru, has taken up tenancy at Monckton Chambers.   

Muttukumaru retired from the £130,000 DfT role late last year, with former Burges Salmon transport head Nick Olley hired to replace him (13 September 2013). 

At the time it was not clear if Muttukumaru, who was called to the bar in 1974 and has since held a number of senior legal roles in government departments, was leaving for another position.

In the last 30 years he has been the Ministry of Defence’s deputy legal adviser, the principal EU lawyer for the Attorney-General’s Office, and has held senior legal roles for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions.   

Most government legal departments will be absorbed by the Treasury Solicitor’s department (TSol) by October this year, with DfT’s 140 lawyers likely to move over in the summer. In April, 180 lawyers moved to TSol from the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and the Department of Communities & Local Government (19 May 2014). 

It is not known if Muttukumaru’s retirement from the DfT was related to these changes. In the last 12 months, this process has included the transfer of 345 lawyers – including 165 from HMRC’s employment division, the Department for Work & Pensions and the Department of Health. 

Meanwhile Monckton Chambers, which is growing its transport practice, is understood to have approached Muttukumaru for the role.

Head of chambers Paul Lasok QC said: “Professional and lay clients in a number of market sectors encounter difficult problems in relation to which Christopher, with his background and experience, is uniquely placed to give authoritative guidance and advice.

”His return to private practice after many years in the public sector fills a serious gap in the market.”