The immigration team at the chambers set up by high profile QC Michael Mansfield has moved to another set after a mutual decision that the chambers’ ‘virtual’ model was not compatible with its line of work.

The departures bring the number of barristers at the chambers down from 28 to 14, as the set focuses on crime, public and international law. The immigration team has moved to Goldsmith Chambers.

Chambers member Mark MacDonald told the Gazette that the move came after the set decided that the fee arrangement structure required to handle immigration work, particularly at the tribunal level, was not viable under a low cost virtual model.

Mansfield Chambers asks members to pay 10% of their fees towards chambers, compared with an average of 25%. This meant it did not have the resources needed to employ ‘fee chasers’.

MacDonald said that in its other areas of work barristers are paid from legal aid, making billing more straightforward.

‘There was a tension between wanting a virtual set or paying higher fees to have the resources needed to accommodate the immigration team,’ he said.

MacDonald said the chambers will grow, with four new recruits expected to join within the next few months.