The second in a series of reviews of barristers' websites of interest to solicitors in Scotland

Hardwicke Building

Hardwicke Building chambers have abandoned what appears to be the normal policy by having only the building, and not the street name in their title. They also appear to have abandoned many of the tenets of good website design. The site is fairly colourful and at first sight appears well ordered. However, the text on most of the pages is crammed against the left of the screen, making it difficult to read. Also, the multiple routes into most pages should make it easier to find content, but just left me slightly confused as to where I was in the site.

If you are prepared to put in the effort, you will find some decent content in the various newsletters, articles and case digests – particularly in employment law. The articles also vary from scholarly to provocative in tone, so you’ll find something to suit your mood, at least. The site may be of use to those working in employment law or personal injury claims.

11 King’s Bench Walk

11 King’s Bench Walk was already one of my favourite places on the legal internet. As a chambers they specialise in a number of areas with cross-border relevance including human rights, discrimination, administrative law, intellectual property, environment etc. They are also not afraid to share the benefits of their specialist knowledge.

Having just switched browsers from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox, I was disappointed to note that I was unable to access large parts of the website due to a browser incompatibility which meant I couldn’t use any of the drop-down menus that feature on the site. This is really not good enough. Those of you with IE browsers would be well advised to skip straight to the title “Articles” – the aforementioned drop-down menu offers a choice of six topic areas, all of which are likely to be of at least some interest and use north of the border.

The articles are by far the most erudite, well referenced and downright useful you’re likely to find on a legal website anywhere in the UK. Highly recommended (assuming you’ve the right software!).

NB. takes you to a sister site with a different feel, and content, which details the chambers’ activities on the North-East circuit from their annexe base in Leeds.

5 Raymond Buildings

The media and entertainment lawyers at 5 Raymond Buildings (or 5RB for short) have an impressive website. Appropriately, it has a newspaper “look” to it and is fairly frequently updated with legal news from the entertainment and media world. Refreshingly, this includes cases and issues with which the chambers are not directly involved.

Under the heading “Cases”, the visitor can access significant numbers of important cases handled by the chambers and browse these by date of decision, alphabetical order, or topic. With most there is a summary of the important issues and a key quote, together with the full judgment in PDF. Although mainly English cases, I was able to locate at least one high profile case against an indigenous “red-top”.

Under “Articles” is an extensive list of learned articles authored by members of 5RB and, in the most part, originally published in other journals or newspapers. Again, these can be accessed chronologically or by subject area. Sometimes only the source and the author are cited, but in many others, the full article is reproduced in PDF.

If there is one nagging criticism, it is this over-reliance on PDF. Having said that, the software required to read this format is almost ubiquitous and should not pose a problem for most users. This site makes for an interesting visit for just about anyone, and is a valuable resource for media law.

3/4 South Square

South Square specialises in commercial and business law, particularly insolvency and bankruptcy. A monthly online digest is protected by perhaps the most tenacious disclaimer I have yet encountered: it even requires you to click your agreement to the disclaimer before allowing access to the digest. The digest itself claims to be “a monthly review of relevant news, cases and articles”. A typical digest is eight pages long and delivered in PDF. A readable mix of medium length case digests and articles, the narrow columns of text probably work better in hard copy, but are worth a glance at any rate.

I was briefly fooled into thinking that “Talks and seminars” would lead to more online content, but it turned out to be simply a long list of speaking engagements.

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