A BARRISTER in Yorkshire who is the longest-serving head of common law chambers in the country has retired after 36 years – but is not planning to hang up his wig just yet.
John Morris Collins, 70, has stood down as joint head with Andrew Campbell QC, of Zenith Chambers, Park Square, Leeds, but he will continue to practise as a member of chambers.
Mr Collins first became head of his chambers, then at 38 Park Square, on March 1, 1966, and served continuously as sole head until March last year when it merged with those of Mr Campbell to form Zenith Chambers, one of the largest in the North.
His chambers were founded by Ralph Cleworth QC in 1928 and had included among its members Sir Rudolph Lyons QC and Judge Ernest Ould.
It had declined to only two members but under Mr Collins’s leadership its numbers and standing were gradually built up until by last year there were over 30.
His was one of the first chambers to abolish fees for pupillage and the among the first to introduce pay for pupils.
The chambers was also one of the earliest to provide regular seminars for the legal profession.
Mr Campbell explained that the decision to merge came about because “solicitors nowadays expect that if the barrister of their choice is not available, there will be another of comparable skill and experience ready to take over. You cannot achieve that without a large chambers.
“Furthermore in this age of increasing specialists you have to establish a legal department store with experts from crime to wills, tax, and pensions.”