Leading barristers’ chambers in East Anglia, Fenners Chambers is celebrating its 50th year. Established in 1973, initially an annexe of a distinguished chambers in London, as the brainchild of Kenneth Wheeler, a senior barrister in those chambers who saw new opportunities for the legal profession. Fenners has since been on a journey of unalloyed growth and success. In celebration of the anniversary, one it of its founding members, Michael Yelton, later judge of the Cambridge County Court, and former Head of Chambers Paul Hollow, came together to chronicle its history in Fenners Chambers: The First 50 Years.
In a time when the bar was concentrated in London and a handful of provincial cities, Wheeler and his colleagues saw an opportune moment to challenge the status quo, establishing the chambers in Cambridge. From modest beginnings with just six young members, Fenners has undergone a remarkable journey of growth, expanding to an impressive 54 members; testament to its enduring success. This growth has been built not only on the ability of its legal members but on its clerking and management operation.
Alongside this growth, the diversity of the chambers has flourished with membership almost equally balanced between men and women, well above the national average of 39.7% of women at the Bar¹, with many of its female members in high positions and awarded important accolades. The chambers has also earned itself a distinguished reputation within the local legal community, particularly at the county court level, with a high number of members appointed as judges.
Fenners hosted a Golden Anniversary ball at Chambers on the 1st of July to celebrate its history and the remarkable contributions members present, and former, have made to the legal profession. Alongside celebrating the anniversary, guests also supported Chambers in raising nearly £5,000 for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, and Coram Children’s Legal Centre.
Commenting on this milestone, Andrew Gore, who joined in 1975 and is now the senior member, said “In the early years some people regarded us as merely a band of young upstarts. We certainly disproved that. Having grown from strength to strength, with over 50 members by our 50th year, I’m proud of the reputation we have built across the East of England and look forward to more success in years to come.”
Those interested in reading Fenners Chambers: The First 50 Years, can find a copy on the Fenners website.
¹Bar Standard Board’s Diversity Report 2022