Common law set 9 Gough Square is a great place to start your career if you want to experience a breadth of memorable cases. Clinical negligence, professional disciplinary and personal injury make up the majority of instructions at the chambers. Tenants often act in hearings before regulatory bodies such as the HCPC or employment tribunals.
In clinical negligence, a barrister is acting on the PIP defective breast impact litigation. Another member of chambers recently settled a ‘cauda equina’ claim for £2.25 million after the claimant suffered a spinal disc prolapse.
There is also a small but nonetheless fascinating criminal practice. Tom Little QC successfully prosecuted a former Uruguayan diplomat for killing his neighbour. In another case, experienced junior Claire Harden-Frost prosecuted a man for operating a cannabis factory. This case was notable as it was the first time the police seized a cryptocurrency wallet, containing £1.2 million in the form of Bitcoin.
Family law is a fast-growing practice at 9 Gough Square, and incoming rookies can look forward to attending the Court of Protection or the High Court on care proceedings.
The set is relatively large, containing over 70 tenants, of whom eight are silks. A third of members are able to take direct access instructions. Barristers at 9 Gough Square usually work between 60-69 hours a week, an above average number at the bar. Outside of these long hours however, they benefit from a vibrant social life, where there is “always someone to go to the pub with on a Friday!” An insider tells us “there is a strong junior end developing who socialise together”. They add that “there is a penchant for karaoke and a night out”.
Located in a refurbished square around the corner from the glass and steel office blocks off Fetter Lane that house many big law firms, including Taylor Wessing, Bird & Bird and Weil Gotshal & Manges. As with many old buildings 9 Gough Square has its “flaws and issues”, but “the hot-desking does mean you see more members of chambers and are not stuck in a dingy room on your own for days at a time”.
Culture is a strong point. As one respondent to the Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey put it: “The support in chambers is one of the most attractive things about 9 Gough Square.” Incoming rookies are “given the mobile number of an overwhelming number of members and encouraged to call whenever” help is needed. This respondent also tells us they did “regularly” use this resource.
Beyond this, “there are always juniors around chambers who are keen to go for a pint” and “this is great for a pupil because that is where you can learn a lot of tips and shortcuts on how to do the job”.
9 Gough Square offers two pupillages annually, and those chosen spend four months with three different supervisors across the year. The second six sees pupils gain considerable advocacy experience, acting in both the County Court and the Magistrates’ Court.
Rookies at the set praise the training, highlighting the “good seminars internally and externally.” Reflecting 9 Gough Square’s practice area strengths, the chambers frequently runs public seminars on clinical negligence, personal injury and family law.
Out of 16 current juniors under ten years call, 12 attended either Oxford or Cambridge. Pupil Thomas Jones worked as a stagiaire at the European Court of Justice following an LLM at the College of Europe in Bruges. During his GDL, junior Kieran Coleman worked at the Independent Police Complaints Commission and is currently instructed on the Metropolitan Police’s undercover policing inquiry.