Fifteen members of London barristers Tooks Chambers are to form a new organisation after Tooks announced plans to close.
Tooks, renowned for its legal aid and civil liberties work, is headed by high profile barrister Michael Mansfield QC.
The chambers announced its closure plans in a strongly worded statement:
“It is with great regret that Tooks Chambers has decided to begin the process of dissolution. Tooks Chambers has a proud record of defending the rights of the under privileged and the oppressed. From its early days of defending miners and their communities during their year long strike, consistently tackling miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham Six and representing the family of Stephen Lawrence, to its current involvement in landmark cases such as the Hillsborough Inquests and the AHK judicial review, members of chambers have sought to hold the state to account.”
“The dissolution of Chambers is the direct result of government policies on Legal Aid. The public service we provide is dependent on public funding. 90% of our work is publicly funded. The government policies led by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.”
Mr Mansfield and other barristers now plan to establish a new ‘low cost’ organisation to be called Mansfield Chambers, the Law Society Gazette reports. This will be based in a different office with reduced overheads and make extensive use of free software to cut costs.