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The knock-on effect of the legal aid reforms has finally struck in a major way, claiming its first victim in the regions. Carter's legal aid reforms, which are supposedly going to ensure better access to justice, have led to Bristol-based set St John's Chambers closing its criminal practice.
Three of its members have joined Albion Chambers, another three have gone to Queen Square Chambers and one definite and several maybes are moving to Guildhall Chambers. The rest of the crime team has been absorbed into St John's regulatory team.
Albion, Queen Square and Guildhall are unlikely to suffer the same fate as their Bristol counterpart. All three claim to have reached the prerequisite 'critical mass' that everyone at the bar is saying is needed to keep publicly funded work going.
St John's focus away from crime is a clear sign of the times.