The chambers of leading defamation lawyer George Carman QC is to dissolve.
As revealed exclusively on The Lawyer's website (24 January), 28-tenant New Court Chambers will close its doors for the last time on 20 April.
Carman will leave the set before then to join Elizabeth Appleby QC's 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, the set currently in merger talks with Monckton Chambers.
New Court Chambers has recently lost a number of tenants, including Hugh Tomlinson, to the newly formed Matrix Chambers.
It is understood that a team of practitioners has also applied for tenancy at Matrix but the management committee chair at Matrix, Nicholas Blake QC, is refusing to confirm or deny this.
Carman says: “There is a climate of change at the bar. A number of barristers have a feeling of instability leading to a tendency for people to move.
“Seven or eight have left [New Court] over a 12-month period reducing our number to 23 or 24.”
This, he says, was a material factor to be considered when agonising over the future of his set.
“Dealing with the phenomenon of a general common law set at the bar has its strengths and its weaknesses,” says Carman. “People sometimes think they might do better in totally specialised sets.”
The remaining tenants, most of which are believed to be commercial practitioners, are understood to be homeless.
In addition to Carman the set is home to three other silks, Frederic Reynold QC, Peter Susman QC and Charles Howard QC.