St Philips in tenant contribution shake-up

Birmingham set St Philips has overhauled the way its barristers contribute to chambers expenses

A change was needed because of the large disparity in earnings of practitioners in the multidisciplinary set.

Previously, some 70 percent of contributions were paid on a percentage of income and the remainder – for room rental or a place in the set’s hot-desking arrangement – on a fixed-fee basis.

This system has effectively been turned on its head. Now tenants pay a flat fee plus a percentage on earnings above £60,000. Because the percentage rate is capped as barristers go up the income ladder, the most highly paid practitioners are not paying disproportionately high rates, while the basic rate means those at the lower end are not overcharged.

The flat fee is dependent on the type of room. The cheapest is £1,020 per month for a space within St Philips’ hot-desking arrangement. There are five room types and the most expensive costs £1,400 a month. There are also graduated discounts for barristers of up to five years call.

The percentage paid on incomes of more than £60,000 ranges from 12.25 per cent to 7 per cent for barristers earning more than £250,000.

Paul Wilson, chief executive at St Philips, said: “We have a fair way of dealing with very high-earning barristers and low-earning barristers.”