Seven leave 4-5 Gray’s Inn in public law exodus

Following the announced retirement last week of leading libel silk George Carman QC, 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square has lost seven of its public law tenants.

The combined annual income of those that have left the set is believed to be in the region of £2.5m.

Clive Lewis and Jane Oldham are joining the chambers of Eldred Tabachnik QC and James Goudie QC at 11 King’s Bench Walk, and Marie Demetriou and Martin Chamberlain are going to Brick Court. It is unknown where Tim Kerr and Sarah Moore will go. As reported exclusively in The Lawyer (7 August) Stuart Isaacs QC is leaving for 3-4 South Square.

But the loss of so many tenants will be offset by the arrival of Murray Shanks from Fountain Court and Philip Coppel from 2-3 Gray’s Inn Square.

Public lawyers Lewis and Oldham will join Karen Steyn who left 4-5 Gray’s Inn in August (The Lawyer, 7 August) for 11 KBW.

Public and employment senior junior Kerr and European specialist Moore are thought to be considering offers, including one from 11 KBW.

Moore’s recent involvement in the high-profile tobacco advertising case, during which she was led by Christopher Vajda QC of Monckton Chambers, could influence her final decision.

None of the public law team have opted to move to Monckton Chambers, with which 4-5 Gray’s Inn was in merger talks until July (The Lawyer, 7 July).

Senior clerk Michael Kaplan at 4-5 Gray’s Inn remains upbeat about the losses.

He says: “I am sorry to see Clive, Jane and Tim leave but we continue to actively seek out a high-quality range of barristers in a broad range of work including public law. We expect to announce the arrival of further high-quality practitioners in the future.”

Kaplan asserts that 4-5 Gray’s Inn will not return to being perceived as a planning set, but its junior public law capability has now been severely diminished.