The case of Rakusen v Jepson was recently heard in the UKSC. Appellant Rakusen was represented by Tom Morris of Landmark Chambers, the respondents meanwhile by Edward Fitzpatrick of Garden Court. However, the intervenor on the side of the Respondents were apparently represented by Charles Bishop and Justin Bates, both as well of Landmark Chambers, opposing their colleague Mr. Morris of the same Chambers.

Is this at all unusual? I don’t want to restrict the question to insights prompted by the following, but chambers apparently in principle are meant to merely be a logistical arrangement of sharing physical facilities and clerks, while each member is fully independent. However, I have noticed that in practice that is really not how many chambers in fact function.

So, whether or not it is an explicit ethical breach, is it not even unusual so as to likely raise eyebrows?

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    In Germany it would be illegal: § 3 I, II of the professional regulations for lawyers forbid the representation of opposing sides for all members of a "Bürogemeinschaft" (lawyers sharing rooms) in all forms. And this does not end with the end of the representation: If one of your colleagues worked one time for one side of the case you will never be allowed to work on the other side. (It is possible if both parties are informed and comply in written form.)
    – K-HB
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 14:58
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    Lawyers also could not do this in the UK however these were barristers, see the answer from law.stackexchange.com/users/49059/aitzaz-imtiaz below
    – deep64blue
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


As your question is concerned on English law, a clear answer is yes but is specific for English law.

Barristers from the same chamber may represent opposing sides in a case. This is normal and common practice. Barristers are independent practitioners in the British and many other common law systems who represent clients in court but are not in charge of the case as a whole. As a result, they may be instructed to represent clients whose interests diverge, and each barrister is responsible for deciding whether or not to accept a particular case.

While each barrister acts independently and is free to take on any case they choose, chambers are groups of barristers who share resources and facilities. Even if they are representing opposing sides in the same case or different cases, barristers are typically required to adhere to the professional code of ethics and maintain client confidence.

It is important to note that ethical rules prohibit lawyers from representing opposing sides in the same case, and the concept of barristers and chambers does not exist in some jurisdictions, such as the United States.

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    In U.S. terms, chambers are more like a co-working office space arrangement than a law firm. Barristers generally don't form the equivalent of a U.S. law firm in English practice. Solicitors in English practice, in contrast, do form U.S. style law firms.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 21:04

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