John Collins

Founder and Joint Head of Chambers.

Born in Dublin in 1944.

Elected Head of the Law Student’s Debating Society of the Kings Inn, Dublin in 1965.

Called to the Irish Bar in 1967, he practiced in the Four Courts, Dublin and in the Munster Circuit until 1972.

Called to the Middle Temple in 1972, he began practice at the Bar of England and Wales.

He was a Member of Jon Harvey QC’s Chambers at Francis Taylor Buildings where he built a practice in and around Greater London.

He and others founded a set of Chambers at 11 South Square in Grays Inn in 1981.

He expanded his practice in the South Eastern Circuit and appeared in the Silver Bullion Trial in Lewes Crown Court before the Resident Judge, HH John Gower, QC.

That Trial lasted six months and on the acquittal of his client, he received permission to found and establish a set of Chambers in Lewes.

It opened in October 1987, and he named it after the location of its premises at the West Gate of Lewes town.

He was greatly helped by Raymond Fox Byrne, who resigned as The Senior Crown Court Clerk, to assume the role as Senior Chambers Clerk.

He then embarked on building up a law practice in the South East, appearing in noteworthy Trials in Lewes, Brighton, Chichester, Croydon, Maidstone and Canterbury.

Between 1990 and 1993 he appeared in a series of Trials in the Old Bailey arising out of the then biggest Robbery in England. It was the Gold Bullion Robbery at Heathrow Airport where over £26 million worth of gold bars were seized.

Chambers grew from 5 members in 1987 to in excess of 50 barristers when he ceased practice in 2007. 

Since then he has managed to steer Chambers through the many changes in practice and finance in the years to date.

He was Editor in Chief of Archbold Research Papers from 1993 to 1997, a division of Sweet and Maxwell.

He was President if the Association of Irish Lawyers from 1992 to 1996.

The 30th. Anniversary Dinner of Westgate Chambers in 2017, was presided over by Dame Anne Rafferty, DBE, PC, QC, Lady Justice of Appeal accompanied by her husband, HH Brian Barker, CBE, QC, Recorder of London.

He has five children - Patrick (b. 1971), Aisling (b. 1972), Paul (b. 1976), Glenn (b. 1999) and Maria (b. 2005).