Third set of chambers opens

PERTH’S newest set of barristers’ chambers, to be known as Garns-worthy Chambers, will be officially opened on Friday.

Garnsworthy is the third set of barristers’ chambers to open this year, following the establishment of John Toohey Chambers in January and Albert Wolff Chambers in April.

The founding members of Garns-worthy Chambers are David Garns-worthy and Maria-Luisa Coulson, both who previously worked at the Costs Consultancy of the Law Society of WA.

They will be joined in December by Belle Lane, a family law specialist formerly of O’Sullivan Davies, and are on the look-out for up to four additional members.

Ms Coulson said the new chambers would specialise in the area of costs and alternative dispute resolution.

“Our aim was to heighten the profile of the law of costs, and to focus on arbitration and other forms of cost effective dispute resolution,” she said, adding that the chambers would not be limited to any particular area of law.

“It is likely that Garnsworthy Chambers will expand in the very near future to accommodate a further four barristers.”

Mr Garnsworthy has more than 30 years’ legal experience and has specialised exclusively in the area of costs since 1991.

Ms Coulson, admitted to practice in 1995, has a background in commercial litigation and in recent years has focused on arbitration and mediation.

She joined the Costs Consultancy earlier this year.

With the opening of the new chambers, Ms Coulson and Mr Garnsworthy will be moving down three floors of their current building, to level 1, 89 St Georges Terrace.

The two other sets of chambers to have opened this year have both experienced substantial growth.

Ron Birmingham QC, who established John Toohey Chambers at Council House, said it had 14 members, with “two or three looking to join in the next few weeks”.

Its latest member is Jillian Saint, a former assistant commissioner of taxation and tax law specialist, who will be commencing on November 1.

Mr Birmingham said the aim was to have about 20 members.

While John Toohey Chambers operates along the lines of services offices, with management provided by Westgate, Albert Wolff Chambers gives members an opportunity to buy part of the premises.

Co-founder Mark Trowell QC said nine barristers had joined the chambers, located at 33 Barrack Street, and there was space for three more.

New additions include Jon Davies and Graham Droppert, who bought part of the fourth floor, and Richard McCormack, who purchased the fifth floor.

“We always saw ourselves attracting younger members of the profession,” Mr Trowell said.

He said the aim was to establish a set of chambers with its own identity that was “not quite as expensive” as some of the alternatives.

Perth’s largest set of barristers’ chambers is Francis Burt Chambers, home to about 90 barristers. Others include Wickham, Sir Lawrence Jackson and Howard.

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