Leading set switches Inn

THE CHAMBERS of John Melville Williams QC at 15 Old Square is moving to Gray's Inn.

The chambers, currently spread over three buildings in Lincoln's Inn, will be united in refurbished premises next month, with room for further expansion.

"We've gone from strength to strength since I moved to Old Square from the Temple 20 years ago," Melville Williams says.

"We're now very overcrowded. I'm sure we will be able to fill up vacant space in the new building. We'll probably end up being crowded again."

The 15 Old Square address, one of the first London chambers to open a satellite branch in the provinces, moved its Bristol set into new offices in Corn Street in July. It now houses four barristers and two support staff.

The two sets of chambers will be known both in London and Bristol as Old Square Chambers from next year.

Senior clerk John Taylor says: "Our work has really taken off in Bristol. We have always done well in the South West and were encouraged to open up a branch of chambers by solicitors' firms which moved down there. Since then a lot of banks and financial houses have joined them.

"New technology at Verulam Buildings will allow the London and Bristol offices to exchange documents and they will be able to communicate by E-mail when the time is right. "The rooms will be more comfortable, and there will be an expanded conference room and a full-time receptionist in the new building."

Expansion in London led to the chambers hiring two annexes at 11 and 14 New Square.

The chambers specialises in employment, personal injury and medical negligence actions. It has a strong environmental law team, and a substantial offshoot in business and mercantile law.

It received a further boost this autumn by becoming consultant to the European Commission on European health and safety law in the UK.