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Tooks Chambers to dissolve following legal aid cuts

Date:25 SEP 2013

Tooks Chambers has announced that it is beginning the process of dissolution as cuts to the legal aid budget mean that it is impossible for the set's work, 90% of which is publicly funded, to continue.

In a statement on its website, the set said:

"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."

Tooks Chambers’ areas of expertise were wide-ranging and members were involved in many family law cases. Barrister Maureen Obi-Ezekpazu recently represented the appellant mother in the high profile Court of Appeal case Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA 1146 on the issue of non-consensual adoption. Ms Obi-Ezekpazu’s article ‘The future of families under the new family justice system’ was published in the Family Law journal in August at [2013] Fam Law 1045.

The set will not be formally dissolved until Friday 27 December 2013, and briefs will continue to be accepted by individual barristers until 11 October 2013. Individual barristers will continue with their cases and arrangements will be made so that the interests of clients will not be affected.

Michael Mansfield QC and others are now in the process of setting up an alternative business model to provide services on a lower cost basis, to continue the provision of support for publicly funded practitioners who are "committed to continuing the struggle for social justice both inside and outside the courts."