Birmingham sets to merge

Two leading commercial sets in Birmingham 7 Fountain Court and Priory Chambers are to merge in a move which will create the largest set in the country with 77 tenants.

The Lawyer understands 7 Fountain Court, with 46 tenants, voted in favour at an emergency chambers meeting last Monday, after Priory Chambers' 31 tenants had voted the previous Saturday.

Details of the merger, such as who will become head of chambers and senior clerk, are now being thrashed out.

Both chambers declined to comment on the merger plan.

The merger is an attempt to fight back against the increasing domination of commercial work in Birmingham by 71-tenant 5 Fountain Court.

Robin Rowland, a tenant at 5 Fountain Court, said: “We still regard ourselves as the market leaders. We will have to wait to see what threat the new set poses.”

The merger means 40 per cent of all barristers in Birmingham will be concentrated in two sets.

Rodney Neeld, senior clerk at 30-tenant 4 Fountain Court, said: “If they run the new set properly this will be an excellent move for both sets. I am sure more mergers will follow in the near future.”