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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

'New era' for Hardwicke as it rebrands to Gatehouse Chambers

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'New era' for Hardwicke as it rebrands to Gatehouse Chambers

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The change comes after the chambers discovered the name's links to slavery

Hardwicke Chambers has announced it will rebrand as Gatehouse Chambers next month, which also coincides with a move to new premises. 

The change comes after legal bloggers investigated historic legal figures, including the 18th century Lord Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, namesake of the chambers. 

Hardwicke was one of two authors of the 1729 Yorke-Talbot opinion, relied on by slave owners for many years as legal justification for slavery. The premises of Hardwicke Building became the name of the chambers, who have occupied it since 1991. 

Joint head of chambers, Brie Stevens-Hoare QC (pictured), commented: “The discovery of the provenance of our business’ name did not sit comfortably with our values as an organisation, or the inclusive and diverse nature of our people and our clients”. 

This led to a decision by members to change the name. The change to Gatehouse Chambers will be effective from 19 July 2021.

Chief executive, Amanda Illing, said: “We are proud to announce our new name and look as we start an exciting new era for our chambers.” 

Stevens-Hoare added: “We have spent many years building up a reputation for excellence, innovation and diversity. We are proud to move forwards with our new name which accords with who we are as an organisation.”

Change is certainly afoot at the chambers, as it also prepares to move to new premises at 1 Lady Hale Gate, Gray’s Inn on 19 July 2021.

The chambers said the move “will provide a creative and collaborative environment which will enable flexible and hybrid ways of working for its staff, barristers and clients”. 

The new purpose-built office includes a client and seminar suite, two roof terraces and “state-of-the-art IT so people can ‘plug and play’ in different parts of the building”. 

Illing said: “Whilst the decision to move offices had already been made before the pandemic and before we learnt about our name, we are pleased to start afresh with a new name, new address and a new space which will better reflect the modern and innovative nature and values of chambers.  

“The timing of our move is also perfect, at a time when colleagues are looking forward to returning to the office at last… we are excited at the opportunities for barristers and staff to collaborate with clients and each other going forward”.

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