Ely Place Chambers, a barristers’ set in the heart of legal London, will close at the end of July, as coronavirus exerts more pressure on the legal profession.
The chambers, which specialises in business, property, employment, media and public law, said it was ‘deeply saddened’ to announce it would be shutting down on 31 July 2020. According to a notice on Ely Place’s website, some of its members will move to established chambers, while others are investigating creating a new virtual chambers that will involve some of its existing staff.
Ely Place, which has existed for almost two decades, said: ‘The interests of the clients we serve remain paramount and we are all committed to a smooth and orderly transition. We are grateful to all those who have instructed and supported us over the last 20 years and look forward to those relationships continuing with members in their new chambers.
‘We are especially grateful to our loyal staff, the majority of whom have been with us almost since our foundation, and who have served us with distinction. We will work to assist them in dealing with these events.’
The chambers will continue to operate as normal for the next four months, to the extent possible under present public health restrictions. Conferences and hearings via telephone and video will be scheduled as normal.
Yesterday, the Bar Council published a survey which suggested over half of barristers’ chambers will not survive the next six months without financial aid if the pandemic persists, while 81% will collapse within a year under the current pressures.
The Bar Council urged the government to reconsider its financial support package, stating: ‘The survival of chambers is integral to ensuring access to justice. Financial support is required if the collapse of chambers is to be avoided.’