The Legal Cheek View
When the set was established more than a century ago, it took its then name from the premises it occupied at 4 Paper Buildings. Though still being its home, 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. Past big-name members also include Eleanor Sharpston, former Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice and late law lord, Lord Diplock.
Parallel to its developing history, the set has moved from being a generalist covering a broad range of civil and criminal work, to specialising in select areas of civil litigation. Today it has more than 50 tenants, nine of whom are QCs. Silks include head of chambers Julian Picton, the editor of McGregor on Damages textbook, David Pittaway who was instructed on the Hillsborough Inquests and The Shipman Inquiry, and deputy head of chambers Nicola Rushton who has a niche specialism in enforcement of legal aid regulations.
Few sets can rival Hailsham’s focus on professional and clinical negligence. The two practices each account for 40% of instructions, with the balance being made up of costs, regulatory work, personal injury and commercial. The set’s specialisms make for “varied and interesting cases, as well as “intellectual challenges” for its members. “There is some truly excellent work in chambers’ core practice areas,” an insider tells us, while at the junior end, as with most civil sets, there is also plenty of RTA and credit hire work.
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.