AS the government attempts to slash its £2.2bn legal aid budget by up to £350m, many lawyers are feeling the pinch.
Just last month it was revealed that high-profile Michael Mansfield QC’s London-based chambers was closing, and the blame was put on the huge cuts.
But, despite the testing times, Timothy Mousley QC has opened new chambers in Portsmouth.
The 2 Kings Bench Chambers, London, has been going since 1953 and 3 Guildhall Walk, next to Barclays bank, will now join it.
Mr Mousley said: ‘It may seem a little counter-intuitive to take that step now, bearing in mind all the problems that face the legal professions in relation to funding and reduced opportunities for securing work.
‘We have costed the project fully and wanted to provide a facility which Portsmouth has not had before, being a fully staffed, fully clerked, fully computerised expansion of a well-known set of London chambers.
‘Conference facilities and seminar facilities are included on the top floor of the building, as well as a library, and are available for use to those instructing us.
‘We aim, as we always have, to provide legal advice and representation across the board and in relation to all areas of the law, particularly those which families and businesses encounter as part of their lives.
‘These premises are not an annexe to our Chambers in the Temple in London. The facilities are spacious and well located within a minute or two of the Law Courts.
‘Our administration includes highly experienced and well respected clerks.’
Mr Mansfield’s Tooks Chambers’ closure was announced on its website last month ‘with great regret’. The firm will cease operations on October 11 before formally dissolving on December 27.
But it is a happier story over at 3 Guildhall Walk where senior clerk Daren Milton will run the chambers. He said: ‘We are proud of our Western Circuit heritage and it remains central to our work. To celebrate our 60th anniversary we’ve opened offices in Hampshire.
‘We see it as an ideal time to show our commitment to our Western Circuit roots and clients old and new.’