The Birmingham bar was rocked this month when the third-largest set in the city collapsed.
As first reported on www. thelawyer.com (14 July), the implosion of Three Fountain Court happened after rent increases and stalling fee revenue led to a financial crisis. The set, which specialises in criminal and family matters, deriving much of its fees from legal aid, will formally close its doors at the end of this month. Head of chambers Stephen Linehan said: “A significant number of Three Fountain Court will be joining St Philips.”
St Philips Chambers chief executive Jonathan Fox confirmed that it had made an approach to merge with Three Fountain Court in February, but had been turned down.
No5 Chambers became the first set to soak up the spare talent, bagging an 11-strong criminal team led by Robert Juckes QC, as well as civil and family barristers. Others likely to benefit include St Ive’s Chambers and Citadel Chambers.
The saga continued three days later, when The Lawyer (17 July) reported that Three Fountain Court was to face an unfair dismissal claim from its senior clerk. The chambers dismissed Jonathan Maskew after it was alleged that he was favouring certain members of chambers.
Maskew has instructed Russell Jones & Walker to act on his behalf on a potential constructive unfair dismissal claim, but proceedings have not yet been issued.