One of the country's top public law silks is abandoning Bar Council chairman Dan Brennan's set to join “magic circle” commercial chambers, Brick Court.
Richard Gordon QC is the second barrister to leave 39 Essex Street in a month.
He is quitting, he says, because Brick Court offers a European dimension.
Judicial review and human rights barrister, Tim Ward – with whom Gordon is collaborating on a book – also recently left the set, joining Monckton Chambers.
Gordon denies the moves are linked, claiming his split with Essex Street, where he has been tenant for 10 years, is amicable.
He says: “I have been very happy here. This is not a divorce in the bitter sense at all. Tim left for his own, different reasons. We are still working together on the book.
“I am leaving to widen my public law and human rights practice. This is an excellent public law set, but Brick Court has a very strong European set which it has built up over the past five years to become pre-eminent. Because of that I decided to move. It was difficult decision.”
Author of several books, Gordon is a visiting Professor in the Faculty of Laws at University College London and is renowned for his judicial review expertise.
He recently persuaded the European Court to take the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' side against the Government and a House of Lords decision in the Wild Birds Case. The European Court designated environmental areas “strictly for the birds”.
Gordon, however, quotes his finest triumph as the case in which he got a “one-eyed, one-legged, purple-haired defendant acquitted on an identity defence”.
Christopher Clarke QC, head of Brick Court, says: “We were attracted to Gordon because of his very specific public law focus.