A national firm of solicitors has established what it claims is the first ‘in-house’ barristers chambers.

Cartwright King today announced the appointment of a dedicated chief clerk and head of chambers, with responsibility for a further 20 barristers.

The chambers can be instructed by other firms of solicitors. Cartwright King says it is the first such arrangement in the country.

Managing director Rupert Hawke said Crown court advocates are not self-employed as at the independent bar, but are part of the firm.

‘Our barristers and HCAs [higher court advocates] work alongside the solicitors that instruct them,’ he said.

‘This environment allows unparalleled access and a free flow of communication between lawyers that ultimately benefits our clients. We are able to get our counsel involved in cases at an early stage; this enhances the quality of case preparation and provides excellent continuity.’

Bill Harris (pictured, right), most recently with Argent Chambers, joins as chief clerk, while Alwyn Jones (pictured, left), a higher court advocate since 1984, is head of chambers. Jones is shortlisted for solicitor-advocate of the year in the 2014 Law Society Excellence Awards, which will be announced at a dinner in London tonight.

Hawke added: ‘Crown court representation is changing and Cartwright King is leading the way.

‘It is a huge testament to the quality of Cartwright King’s new in-house chambers, that the company has already received instructions from other solicitor firms.’

The firm employs more than 160 people in nine offices across England. Practice areas include business defence, crime, immigration, family, HM Revenue & Customs investigations, tax and VAT fraud, motoring, road transport, community care, mental health, court of protection and employment.