Scottish QC to launch English-style chambers

The first new set of Scottish advocates’ chambers to be founded for more than 50 years has been launched by two advocates setting out to provide a more innovative service.

John Campbell QC, a member of Hastie Stable, and John Carruthers of Murray Stable say that the overly traditional nature of the Scottish bar has forced them to follow a more business-minded approach in establishing Oracle Chambers.

They are splitting off from the Faculty of Advocates’ clerking service, Faculty Services Limited (FSL), and will be recruiting their own clerk and business development manager.

Carruthers told The Lawyer: “We’re going to take a pretty hard-nosed commercial approach. In England things are very dynamic and very competitive and that’s not the same in Scotland.”

He added that the launch came ahead of the likely liberalisation of the Scottish legal profession in the wake of the reforms taking place in England and Wales following Sir David Clementi’s regulatory review of the legal profession.

Currently all but one of the 460 Scottish advocates have individual contracts with FSL and work in one of 10 stables. Advocates also have to be registered with the faculty in order to be able to practise, and Campbell and Carruthers will remain affiliated.

Oracle will launch officially in May 2007, when Campbell’s and Carruthers’ contracts with FSL come to an end. Carruthers said they were hopeful that other advocates would join them.

Susan O’Brien QC, FSL’s chair, said in a statement: “The company has no problem with advocates who wish to create their own business environments and I’ll watch their venture with interest.”