Essex Court

Essex Court was for some time the most important set where trade mark law was practised. Although it had a history that dates back to the times in which Kenneth Swan developed his practice, it became a leading trade mark set when the Burrells took over. Robert Burrell and his son John were particularly active barristers in AIPPI, the Trade Mark, Patents and Designs Federation and other professional associations. By the close of the twentieth century, the chambers moved to Gray’s Inn and then to Lincoln’s Inn, merging with other sets to form what is today ‘Hogarth Chambers’.

Location

Middle Temple

Barristers

Kenneth Swan; Robert Burrell; John Burrell;  Amédée Turner; Christopher Morcom; David Micklethwait;  Roger Wyand

Clerks

Frank Fitzgibbon; Geoffrey Maw; Ian Moyler.

Facilitator: How did you become a clerk and how old were you?
 
Ian Moyler: Well, I left school at 16 years of age and I was working in the city in Temple Chambers, which is just outside the Temple. I was working at a place where you did company searches and I used to see lots of clerks buzzing around because it was quite a busy area just outside the Temple. Then I got a job, quite independently, at a firm of solicitors in Bishopsgate and I would come down to the Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn to deliver papers and instructions. And what happened was, I used to meet up with my old school mate, Clive Nicholls at a thing called the document exchange which is where you would deliver papers into a central box and people would re-distribute them. He wore this very, very smart grey suit and I was wearing a very awful brown suit, and I said to Clive, “How do you get the nice grey suits?” And he said, “Well, I’m a barrister’s clerk.” I said, “That sounds all right.” He said, “I know of have a job going at the moment.” The job was at 1, Essex Court. He said, “Go down there. They’re a very friendly bunch. When you go in, tell them that I sent you and explain you are there for the job.” So I trotted off to 1, Essex Court, to the first floor. Very old-fashioned buildings there. [I went] up the creaky stairs, walked in, and was greeted by the smell of coffee and Chanel perfume. It was a very nice warm, wood paneled room and it just felt so cozy in there. I saw a lady clerk called Rochelle Haring, and Geoffrey Maw was there as well. I explained very timidly that I had come for the job. Then I was ushered into another room and I was given an interview on the spot.
 
ONE ESSEX COURT
Facilitator: Do you remember the interview and what they asked you?
 
Ian Moyler: I explained that I went to court, dealt with lodging of documents at court, speaking to barrister’s clerks, speaking to barristers. At the law firm they even allowed me to go to conferences with barristers and take notes, which was highly ill-advised because I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. So I explained what my experience was, and at the end of the interview they explained to me that across the other side of the clerks room where I’d originally gone in there was a clerk who was going to go to Australia, but they didn’t know when he was to leave. It depended on when he got his travel documents through. Therefore, they said, “Thanks for coming in, but there isn’t a job here at the moment. But do pop in, and see how things go.” So after a year of going down to the Temple and popping my head round the corner every week, they finally told me that the junior clerk was going to Australia, and therefore the position had come up and they didn’t really want to interview anybody else because they felt sorry for me because I’d been in so often. I can’t remember the start date, but it must have been in 1983. So I’d left school in ’81, done about two years in the search company and solicitor’s office. Incidentally, when the solicitors found out I’d got a job as a barrister’s clerk, one of the partners there said, “You will never make it as a barrister’s clerk.” So that was a nice incentive to excel for me when I left the solicitors firm.
 
Facilitator: Did you know that they were specialised chambers?
 
Ian Moyler: I did know, but in the sense that at 18 years of age, you aren’t really aware of any of your surroundings apart from that you must get a document to court. I knew what they did, but it didn’t really register. I didn’t have any particular love for the law, I just thought it was a really cool place to work, because it was warm, and you didn’t have to sit in the office all day long. You could run around and you took people to court and you could meet some of your mates at lunch time. So it was a really good environment to work in. But in the first couple of months you got to see what people were doing and the quality of work they were undertaking and all sorts of big name brands coming through on the instructions. Coca-Cola, Lego, all wanting their trade marks protected or their rights protected.
 
Facilitator: Do you remember who was there when you arrived?
 
Ian Moyler: I remember John Burrell QC, I remember Christopher Morcom and Roger Wyand, David Mickletwaith, and a chap called Malcom Chappell. There was a lady barrister called Caroline Boone . But I think she was coming in as I was leaving. And there was a pupil barrister there called Frank Kindrid, who subsequently I’ve met, because he has gone on not to be a barrister but an in house lawyer at BT.
 
Facilitator: Was it shared with Common Law chambers?
 
Ian Moyler: Yes, this a really strange thing about chambers at that time . There was a corridor where if you went across the corridor you went across to the IP set and in the part of chambers where Geoff (Maw), Rochelle and I sat, that was the Common Law / Criminal chambers. So they did a bit of civil work but they were really prosecuting and defending on what’s called the Thames Valley circuit. So it was a lot of criminal work. It was really unusual position because the IP barristers were highly successful and they did really well and Geoff was very wedded to them because, no doubt, he made good money from the IP people. But on the other hand, the civil people were doing poorly paid prosecutions and legal aid defence briefs in the Crown Courts of the Thames Valley.
 
Facilitator: I think Roger Wyand told me that he was once sent one to a juvenile court so they were also sharing arrangements at some point when there was nobody available.
 
Ian Moyler: I wasn’t aware of that, but I could imagine that would have happened. So for me it was really busy on one side of the chambers because the Crown Court and the Civil Courts were really busy with cases coming in and coming out all the time. The other side was far more relaxed because IP people really are truly intellectual people and you could instantly tell that there was a difference in the make-up of the barristers in the IP set.
Ian Moyler: I think I recognised that we in those chambers actually did patent work which I sort of knew was highly specialised because you had patent agents instructing you and there was a special court that you’d go to. But then sometimes there were breach of copyright matters and injunctions and what’s called Anton Piller applications and you knew that was a bit more general chancery because you would quite often be up against chambers that weren’t necessarily in the patent world. So I sort of knew patent was special, but the distinction was lost on me at the time.
 
Facilitator: How do you remember you first years as a junior clerk? What type of work were you doing and what type of relationship di you have with the senior clerks and barristers?
 
Ian Moyler: Well, being so young, it was mainly as an office boy. I’m not sure if I contributed anything to the strategy or overall direction of chambers, but I did what was asked of me in terms of either sorting out listing issues or making sure people were at court at the right time.
 
Facilitator: Were you typing?
 
Ian Moyler: Rarely did typing. I think Geoffrey Maw was responsible for sending out most of the fee notes, or Rochelle, who was the first junior clerk. She did most of it. But Geoff did all the accounts and took most of the work on because of his relationships with the solicitors and the patent attorneys that he’d grown up knowing. I guess he was around late 40’s, early 50’s when I knew him. So I guess he’d been going 15, 20 years, knowing the people in that market.
Facilitator: Do you remember who was clerking at other Chambers at the time?
 
Ian Moyler: I remember John Call, I remember Tony Liddon his junior clerk, I remember Roy Nicholls, I remember Ian Bowie, I remember Tim who is Ian Bowies next one down. Can’t remember his surname though. Tony Liddon is John Call’s first junior. And there was one other chambers. Which one was Alastair Wilson at? 6, Pump Court?
 
Facilitator: 6 or 3?
 
Ian Moyler: 3, Pump Court.
 
Facilitator: 3, Pump Court. I think 6 was Aldous.
 
Ian Moyler: Yes.
 
Facilitator: And Simon Thorley.
 
Ian Moyler: Simon Thorley. You know he’s here at Brick Court now, don’t you?
 
Facilitator: We interviewed him in Cambridge. Do you remember how much were you paid?
 
Ian Moyler: I remember that I think rail my ticket was something like 50 pounds per week and I was paid something like 90 pounds a week. I used to get paid in cash at the beginning, I think.
 
Facilitator: In retrospect what are the most significant differences nowadays when someone gets into chambers as a junior clerk compared to how it was when you started? Has it been professionalised?
 
Ian Moyler: Yes, it’s quite difficult to compare the organisation I’m with now (Brick Court Chambers) with those chambers. In those days it was a cottage industry. This is large internationally focused. Essentially, we are a law firm.
 
Facilitator: What do you mean by a cottage industry?
 
Ian Moyler: It was just bits of paper where people would write the fee notes rather than having it typed out or invoiced. So the accounts were done by hand, the diaries were written out by hand. It was just the scale was so much smaller. You had more time to think about things and dedicate yourself to writing.
 
Facilitator: Do you remember how work came in and what the relationship with solicitors was like at that time?
 
Ian Moyler: I only got the sense that when the calls came in the big calls always came to Geoff, and he obviously knew the people that he was speaking to because he was very comfortable on the phone with either patent attorneys or solicitors. I remember some of the names. Simmons & Simmons used to send a lot of work to Christopher Morcom. Kevin Mooney was a big name. There was a lady called Helen somebody, that used to send a lot. Bristows Cooke used to send a lot.
 
Facilitator: Bird & Bird as well?
 
Ian Moyler: Bird & Bird. I still know some of the people there, like Morag Macdonald, Graham Smith and Trevor Cook.
 
Ian Moyler: Yes, so those are names that stuck out then. But I was quite far removed from the sort of level where Geoff was. He was cultivating the work and getting the work in.
 
Facilitator: You were talking before about the move of chambers from the Temple to Gray’s or Lincoln’s Inn…..
 
Ian Moyler: Yeah, my only recollection was the very big move of Francis-Taylor building. John Call and the chambers. That he was a senior clerk and they moved. It was always thought quite strange that he’d want to move to a different Inn, particularly as he had a really nice spot at the top of Kings Bench Walk. So, I remember that happening. Can’t remember when it happened, but it was quite a big thing at the time.
 
Facilitator: It might have been in the 90’s.
 
Ian Moyler: Really?
 
Facilitator: Yes.