Crisis hits north-east set

Middlesbrough set Cleveland Chambers is in danger of extinction after all of its tenants walked out, leaving set head, Barry Stewart, stranded.

The walkout follows two redundancies at the chambers last week. Seven tenants have established a breakaway set, Grange Road Chambers, with the others making as yet unknown alternative arrangements.

A similar incident occ-urred at the set last year, when 12 former members made a hurried departure and set up on their own to form Baker Street Chambers.

Stewart will continue to practise, operating between his offices and home.

Grange Road was opened last Monday, but because of the hurried nature of its establishment it is currently operating on an informal basis and no head of chambers has been appointed.

"We hope to survive," said Alan Harle, the new set's unofficial spokesperson, "but it's very early days."

The Grange Road barristers practise general common law, but specialise in crime.

All instructing solicitors and clients have been made aware of the situation and Harle says they are getting a "good deal" of support.