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The Bar: Bloch QC exits Wilberforce for Blackstone as Lord Hope joins Brick Court

Just weeks after Wilberforce Chambers’ longstanding chief executive and senior clerk Declan Redmond announced he is leaving for Keating Chambers, Wilberforce QC Michael Bloch has announced he is to depart for rival Blackstone Chambers.

A rated commercial and intellectual property specialist, Bloch QC’s recent caseload includes Nestles’ successful High Court battle with Cadbury earlier this month, after Cadbury tried to trademark the iconic purple colour of its Dairy Milk bars. Other significant cases include the British Sky Broadcasting Group v Microsoft over the latter’s use of the word ‘SkyDrive’ as the name for its cloud storage service.

Acknowledged by the Legal 500 as ‘receptive to which way the judge is moving and very quick to adapt’, Bloch QC is set to join Blackstone next week after 13 years at Wilberforce, which he joined from One Essex Court in 2000.

Bloch QC told Legal Business: ‘Blackstone promises to be an exciting place to be over the next few years. The more I looked into to it, the more I liked what I saw. It comprises some outstanding lawyers. It has a joined-up way of doing business. There is a friendly and collegiate spirit about the place. It already has a great reputation, and I suspect you’ve seen nothing yet.’

The QC’s departure will be a blow to 53-barrister Wilberforce, headed by John Martin QC, following as it does the resignation of senior clerk Declan Redmond, who is set to join Keating at the end of the year to take up a similar position. Redmond’s time at Wilberforce dates back to 1982, when he started as a junior clerk.

Meanwhile, Brick Court Chambers will shortly enhance its disputes offering with the arrival of Lord Hope of Craighead, who is to join as an arbitrator following his retirement from the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The veteran has previously acted as Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court Session, followed by a stint as Lord of Appeal in ordinary. In 2009, Lord Hope was appointed second senior Lord of Appeal and later became deputy president of the Supreme Court until his retirement in June.

Jonathan Hirst QC, joint head of Brick Court, said: ‘We are delighted that David Hope is joining us an arbitrator. He substantially strengthens our existing Scottish connection and we are sure that he will be in demand as an arbitrator.’

For a detailed insight into clerks at the Bar see Pulling the strings – the surprisingly successful re-invention of clerking