Parklane Plowden was formed on 1st October 2007 following the merger of Park Lane Chambers (Leeds) and Plowden Chambers (Newcastle). The merger was spearheaded by barristers Jeremy Freedman, Stuart Brown QC and David Wilby QC.
As two of the leading Chambers in the North East, the merger was regarded amongst legal commentators as a significant development. The Lawyer, on the 4th September 2007, referred to the merger as the forming of a northern civil and family set "powerhouse".
The newly merged set became the largest civil and family chambers on the North Eastern Circuit – with 65 barristers providing a stronger civil capability for northern solicitors. Importantly, it gave chambers an opportunity to grow its national reputation.
Park Lane Chambers
Park Lane Chambers began its life just before the Second World War in two rooms in 37 Park Square. It was one of the first sets on Circuit and was founded by Raymond Hinchliffe (later Mr Justice Hinchliffe) and Stanley Peaker (later Middlesbrough's stipendiary magistrate).
Among prominent early members were Peter Stanley Price, Christopher Beaumont, Donald Chapman and Richard Nevin, all of whom took silk and senior Circuit appointments on the Circuit Bench.
In the 1980s, chambers began to specialise in civil work under the leadership of Christopher Holland QC. It was during this period that there was considerable growth for chambers in terms of both barrister numbers and income. There were also further departures to the Circuit bench including Robert Taylor and John Cockroft. Christopher Holland followed to the High Court in 1991.
A strong family team also developed under Angela Finnerty and Sally Cahill, both of whom are now prominent circuit judges.
Increasing numbers dictated moves (and a name change); first to Pearl Chambers and then to the current premises at Park Lane House on Westgate, Leeds.
Although based in Middle Temple (London), from its beginnings in 1980, Plowden Chambers had a strong presence on the North Eastern Circuit. With the principal practice areas being personal injury, clinical negligence and employment law.
By the mid-1990s, such was the volume of work in the North East that premises were opened in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and ultimately Chambers re-located in its entirety to Lombard House. It became a trusted, well-established niche set, attracting quality work both regionally and nationally.
Several former members of Plowden Chambers are circuit judges: HHJ Peter Fox (recorder of Middlesbrough); HHJ McIntyre (South Eastern circuit); HHJ Simon Wood (Newcastle-upon-Tyne); HHJ Jeremy Freedman (designated civil judge for Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) and HHJ Philip Kramer (specialist civil circuit judge).