THE FIRST purpose-built chambers to be constructed within the Temple for 40 years has opened to upbeat predictions of a healthy future for the Bar and the Inns of Court.
Inner Temple says the opening of Littleton Chambers, on the site of the former students' bar Niblett Hall, is a product of the growing demand for accommodation.
But demand for space is exceeding available accommodation, and the situation is not helped by the trend towards larger sets. While the new Littleton set has managed to stay within the confines of the Inn, another expanding set, One King's Bench Walk, failed to find accommodation and plans to move to Bedford Row.
Littleton Chambers, a joint venture by the Inner Temple and Michael Burton QC's 28-strong commercial set, formerly based at 2 Crown Office Row, was officially opened by Inner Temple treasurer Lord Justice Hirst on 29 June.
"The investment that this new building has demanded represents a major statement of confidence in the future of the Inns of Court and of the Bar," he said at the opening.
Hirst said surveys showed a "strong and growing" demand for space for chambers which the Inns of Court were well placed to deliver.
Littleton Chambers is delighted with its new, modern home within the Temple.
Inner Temple sub-treasurer Peter Little says the building is unique and the Inn can only conduct major refurbishments of existing accommodation if and when it is vacated.
"There's an important trend towards larger sets which is something we are conscious of and something we are responding to," he says.