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Top criminal chambers forced to rebrand as old premises become luxury apartments

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9-12 Bell Yard now Foundry Chambers

A leading criminal set based in the heart of legal London has been forced to relocate and undergo a rebrand after its building was snapped up by developers.

As of today, 9-12 Bell Yard Chambers will be called Foundry Chambers. For the past 23 years the set has taken its name from its Bell Yard address, but has now upped sticks since the freehold of the original building was sold.

In 2015, Legal Cheek revealed that the 9-12 Bell Yard property — situated just a stone’s throw from the Law Society — had been the subject of a planning application to change the use of the existing building from an office to nine residential units. According to the application summary (which is still live on Westminster City Council’s website) the redevelopment has since been “permitted”.

Part of the original plans submitted by developers

Fast forward a year and the property hit headlines again, this time in connection with a Brazilian money launderer.

Leaked documents revealed that an offshore company which coughed up a whopping £6,225,000 to purchase 9-12 Bell Yard’s freehold from Scottish Widows in 2015 had been established by Expedito Machado. Machado has admitted laundering millions of dollars in bribes on behalf of his father, former Brazilian senator Sérgio Machado.

Because of laws allowing landlords to own property via shell companies (non-trading companies used as vehicles for various financial manoeuvres) without having to reveal their identities, barristers at 9-12 Bell Yard Chambers were not aware who they were renting their building from.

Foundry Chambers, which will continue to be headed up by Mukul Chawla QC, will now be based at Quality House. The building is described by a Google reviewer as a “great oasis of offices with a great vibe and atmosphere”, and is just five minutes walk away from 9-12 Bell Yard.

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10 Comments

Anonymous

Done them a favour.

No chambers needs such extensive and expensive premises in the modern day.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Why?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

For the same reason you can be absolutely fine with (and in a better position to afford) a VW Golf, and can do without a huge and expensive Landrover Discovery. Perhaps use your imagination every now and then. You cretin.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

that was a bit rude wasn’t it – do you have anger management issues?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Having anger management issues is a pre-requisite for commenting on LC.

(5)(0)

A pupil

Very disappointed they chose not to go with ‘Quality Chambers’!

(8)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

I think you can only have that name if your set is on Quality Street, but I seem to recall there may be something else which has taken such a festive name.

(6)(0)

Officious bystander

Yeah – Quality Street chambers are pretty slick. They’ve got everything wrapped up!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

They’ll come up smelling of Roses whatever they call themselves.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I still don’t understand why that location would be much sought after in the ‘luxury’ property bracket. Bell Yard is hardly exciting, is well outside the West End, is in an area that’s dead at weekends, probably has no parking, and those premises have an unlovely view onto the side of the RCJ (as far as I can tell from having walked past).

Perhaps minted lawyers will buy or rent there for weekdays, just for the shortish walk to chambers or the firm. But remember: you don’t get mints in Quality Street.

(2)(0)

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