Defamation silk Ronald Thwaites QC is quitting 10 King's Bench Walk to launch a new chambers.
Thwaites is planning to take the set's senior clerk Chris Drury as chambers director and hopes to be joined by about 12 civil practitioners from his set and other chambers.
Thwaites says: "I have come out to give notice of my intention to chambers. The time is right for a new-concept chambers based on old-fashioned principles."
While 10 King's Bench Walk is renowned as one of the top criminal sets at the bar, Thwaites' own practice has shifted to become almost exclusively concentrated on defamation and civil work.
"The possibilities for developing a civil practice [here] are limited because the perception of chambers is for criminal work," he says.
Thwaites intends to offer a specialist advocacy referral service in high risk and difficult cases. He hopes the new set will be launched in August.
Thwaites says: "Reputations have carried the bar for far too long. To some extent these have been seen through by solicitors. The bar will contract and go back to much smaller numbers which is not a tragedy."
Thwaites' departure will be a blow to the set he established.