THE CHERISHED chambers tradition of posting boards displaying the names of their tenants outside their doors has ceased to be official Bar Council policy.
The Bar Council voted through a resolution to drop the requirement that chambers must display the characteristic boards at its meeting last month.
The move, passed with little controversy, has been prompted by a rash of applications for the rule to be waived by chambers which have set up outside the Inns.
“Nowadays, barristers are permitted to practise as single tenants in their own homes and it was believed there could be security implications, especially for criminal practitioners,” said a spokesman.
“There might also be planning permission implications for chambers outside the Inns of Court.”
Bar historian Charles Sparrow QC, who is master of pictures and silver at Gray's Inn, said he believed the boards were relatively new, dating back to the time when barristers began gathering together in chambers towards the beginning of the last century.
He said he thought it unlikely chambers in the Inns would drop the tradition.
“If you have had the experience, as I have many times, of seeing a woebegone messenger peering up at a board of 25 to 30 tenants looking for the right one, you will appreciate just how useful they are.”
Michael Beloff QC, joint head of chambers at 4/5 Gray's Inn Square, said his chambers had no intention of doing away with the boards.
“I'd be astonished if chambers dropped them because they are so very practical,” he said.