One Essex goes limited

Top commercial set One Essex Court is joining the ranks of a small number of barristers’ chambers that have turned themselves into limited companies.

One Essex Court will incorporate on 1 January 2007. Its administration will now be run by the limited company, with clerks and other staff employed by the company rather than by the head of chambers.

Senior clerk Paul Shrubsall said: “We want to be a modern, forward-thinking set of chambers. For the average barrister it will be seamless and nothing will change.”

Other sets to make the move include Atkin Chambers, Blackstone Chambers and Essex Court Chambers.

Under the incorporation, One Essex Court Limited will be run by a board consisting of four barristers, with four shareholders and Shrubsall as company secretary.

As in a traditional chambers, barristers will pay a percentage of their earnings for staff and other services. However, the contributions will now go to the limited company.

Shrubsall said the decision to incorporate had not been driven by the legal services reform poised to go through Parliament.

Charles Russell has been advising One Essex Court on the incorporation, including the transfer of undertakings for all members of staff.