The Legal Cheek View
Few sets can rival Hailsham Chambers’ focus on professional negligence and clinical negligence. The two practices each account for 40% of instructions taken on by the chambers, with the balance being made up of costs, regulatory work, personal injury and commercial.
When the set was established over a century ago, it took its then name from the premises it occupied at 4 Paper Buildings. Though the chambers is still based there, it was renamed in 2001 as Hailsham Chambers, taking its name from Quintin Hogg, a former tenant who inherited the title of Lord Hailsham and went on to become Lord Chancellor. Parallel to this, the set has moved from being a generalist practice covering both civil and criminal work, to specialising in civil litigation.
Today, Hailsham has over 50 tenants, eight of whom are QCs. These silks include head of chambers David Pittaway, who was instructed on the Hillsborough Inquests and The Shipman Inquiry, and Julian Picton, the editor of the McGregor on Damages textbook.
What The Junior Barristers Say
“Going to court was terrifying at first,” says barrister Alexander Echlin, whose practice consists of professional negligence, clinical negligence and some common law, “but juniors at Hailsham go into court a lot and the more you do, the less stressful it becomes. You get used to thinking on your feet.”
One year into his tenancy at civil law set Hailsham Chambers, courtrooms now play a prominent role in Echlin’s life — as do trains. On a typical day he is doing one of two things: either “in chambers doing written work, such as pleadings and advice” or “out all day travelling to court”. Echlin continues, “I have been all over the country. I went to Cornwall, Wrexham and Newcastle in one week. I absolutely love it, going up and down the country, meeting people from all walks of life, and it is great practice.” He has also acted in a Court of Appeal case on liability under section 39 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and vicarious liability, which was “hard work” and “very interesting”.
Echlin rates the intellectual challenge of law, travelling and meeting people as the best parts of his job. And his least favourite? “Block lists [where several cases are listed for the same time], which means you can be waiting all day for something that was meant to start first thing,” he says.