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Chambers at Lincoln's Inn face a payout of around £840,000 if the Inn is successful in forcing all of them to court over a rent battle
The chambers' representatives are fighting the Inn's plan to increase the rent by around 40 per cent. On 9 January, the London County Court ruled in a preliminary stage of the proceedings that the chambers could put forward so-called 'beacon sets' at full trial. These beacon sets comprise six chambers which would act as representatives of the 28 chambers involved in the action. The Lincoln's Inn Bar Tenants' Association (LIBTA) is sharing their costs. This arrangement is considered more advantageous than each set lodging its case individually, which, say parties involved, would cost an estimated £25,000-£30,000 per set in legal and surveyors' fees - a total of up to £840,000. Alan Dixon, a lawyer at Bowling & Co who is acting for Lincoln's Inn, said: "We argued that there should be no beacon sets and all cases should go forward to trial." The Inn has appealed the decision. A letter from Dixon states: "No commitment was made that our client would adopt these beacon sets if the rent were referred to the court for determination. These sets were never accepted as being representative." A further communication from Dixon states: "Our client has very real concerns about the principles of ordering directions in the beacon cases with the remaining cases being stayed." A member of Lincoln's Inn said: "People in chambers are asking who the Inns think they are. The Inn's members are supposed to be there for barristers, and yet this sort of tactic is just fighting dirty. They should at least do it in a reasonable way."