The great Mansfield Chambers exodus: 50% of barristers quit the set

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Exclusive: Half of the members of Michael Mansfield QC’s set have just left

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Recent updates to the website of Mansfield Chambers have suggested that a major exodus has taken place — and Legal Cheek can today confirm that this is indeed the case.

The predominately criminal set — headed up by legendary silk Michael Mansfield QC — has lost 14 tenants of its 28 tenants. This before and after shot (pictured below) of the set’s website, using the Google cache, illustrates the damage.


Only 11 tenants and three associate tenants — including Charlotte Proudman, of LinkedIn sexism row fame — remain at the Chancery Lane legal aid set.

Fellow London set Goldsmith Chambers has taken the lion’s share of those bailing out. Some of the departees have already gone public with the news, with former Mansfield man and immigration specialist Reuben Soloman tweeting yesterday:

Back in 2013, Mansfield QC was head of Tooks Chambers when it announced it was winding up operations, citing — at the time — government policies on legal aid. He went on to found Mansfield Chambers in the same year.

Despite the departures, the set insists that it won’t go the way of Tooks, with senior clerk Martin Parker telling Legal Cheek this morning that Mansfield Chambers will “most definitely be continuing” and that its incoming pupils would be unaffected. Parker added:

People come and go. That is the way of the bar at the moment.



This is about me



Does Mansfield Chambers have a physical presence at 5 Chancery Lane?

It appears to be a Regus type office block operated by Orega.



Orega is a serviced office building. MC rents a small room on the 5th floor, in which the clerks sit.



Where do barristers work when they are in chambers? Does everyone work from home and pay business rates on their home offices?



In the criminal court, at a guess.


Quo Vadis

Pupils (plural)? Is there any prospect of a set that size, doing publicly-funded work, taking on two tenants?


Domum eo

It’s not that unusual for sets to take on many pupils knowing full well they don’t have space for all of them. Criminal bar has been doing it for years.



There is only one pupil at MC, inherited from Tooks. A previous pupil inherited from Renaissance Chambers is now a tenant.


Lord Harley of disabled toilet.

Thankfully, this story is taking the heat away from my appearance at the Solicitors’ Disclipinary Tribunal this morning – which appears to have gone unnoticed by LC. I wonder if an account has been written anywhere online?


Sir Ken Biggins, Parliamentary Secretary to Lord Harley of Counsel

A good day to bury bad news.


Lord Harley of Council House

You , sir, are an impostor.

I did not appear before the SDT today. A hearing was held but I was busy tweeting so I didn’t answer the phone.

There is an account but I am sure it can’t be true.



i too was at that clinic this morning and saw LH there! with PBs!


Guido Fawkes

Lord Harley did not want to get caught sitting on a keg of gunpowder, but he should still be hung, drawn and quartered.


Guru nana

Just goes to show that you cannot built a set of barristers these days around one big name (or one very large ego/public persona). No more than you can have a law firm built around one rainmaker these days and still be credible.


Daniel Barnett

This is extremely sad news. Criminal practitioners are paid so little, and it’s a testament to these people – led by Mansfield – that they were willing to try to continue working for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised when Tooks Chambers was no longer able to continue as a going concern.

I assume that, as time has passed, many of the barristers at Mansfield Chambers have been applying and moving elsewhere (many to Goldsmith Chambers, according to this report), doubtless to benefit from increased income or lower overheads. It’s logical, completely understandable, and probably inevitable, but nevertheless very sad.



It has nothing to do with incomes or overheads per se although it will certainly be nice to have work billed and fees collected in a timely manner — or at all.



Hey, Daniel- there is something i need to tell you (About that Kool Aid)?



If Mansfield is looking for senior counsel to join him to make up the numbers, he can always ask Lord Harley. Mind you, Harley might ask Mansfield to move the set to Rochdale.


Harley Watch

welcome, lawbytes.



Barristers follow work and money.



This particular group has work that travels with them.



Enough about their servants and au pairs



DB assumes wrong

Anonymous is may be generally but not this time.



Who would want to stay in the same Chambers as Charlotte – look at me, look at me, HOW DARE YOU LOOK AT ME – Proudman?



It wasn’t anything to do with Charlotte Proudman either.


Ms Charlotte Proudperson

It’s all about mere!!!



And Daniel, has nobody told you? (About that Kool Aid)?



Mansfield probably spunked the chambers budget on fake tan



Kezia Tobin and Rita Sethi have also left.


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