Areas of Law Archive

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

“An excellent chambers. It is a go-to choice for counsel outside of Cardiff or London.” Chambers UK (2016)


St John’s is the leading barristers’ set in the South West in the field of Agricultural Law.  Our members understand the needs of the agricultural sector and offer a specialist service which covers all aspects of rural land ownership and farming.

We are able to respond quickly and provide specialist, practical and cost-effective advice and representation at a level that is appropriate to your requirements, however large or small.  We regularly work with land owners, farmers, estates, trustees, land agents, chartered surveyors, tenants, developers and local authorities.

Some of our team are members of the Agricultural Law Association:

What we do

We can help on a broad range of matters including:-

  • Farm and agricultural land sales and purchases
  • Options and overage agreements
  • Farm tenancies and agricultural holdings
  • Trusts and succession disputes/planning
  • Water and drainage rights
  • Public and private rights of way
  • Rights of common and profits a prendre
  • Boundary disputes
  • Planning permission, enforcement and permitted development rights
  • Environmental responsibilities
  • Contentious and non-contentious tax matters for farming families,  agricultural/farming/rural/landowning businesses, enterprises and individuals.


The clerks are happy to suggest appropriate members for any particular case, depending on its complexity and value.  Fees are calculated according to the anticipated time taken to do the work and in almost all cases are agreed with our clients in advance.

All our team members can accept instructions direct from industry professionals under the Licensed Access scheme.  This allows members of licensed organisations – for example ‘RICS’ to instruct us in a cost-effective way without having to go through a solicitor.  This can be particularly useful where the dispute turns on the construction of a document or the application of legislation

Some members of the team are also available to act, where appropriate, for members of the public, as well as commercial and non-commercial organisations, under the Public Access scheme.

Examples of recent agricultural cases involving our members

Publications and training

Some members have published books and articles on issues relevant to the agricultural sector.  The team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers and regional centres.   We also provide training on behalf of local Law Societies and in conjunction with solicitors firms.  As well, we can give tailored in-house training for particular firms.

If you want to discuss training then please contact our clerks.

“The clerking is amazing. You only have to phone them up and things just get done.” Chambers UK (2016)


Members of our competition team have considerable experience in providing advice and representation in all areas of UK, EU and international competition law and related areas, whether contentious or non-contentious, including:

  • Cartels and anti-competitive practices
  • Abuse of a dominant position
  • Market studies and investigations
  • Merger control
  • State aid
  • Procurement
  • Economic regulation

Our barristers have a broad sector of experience and understand the importance of providing advice and representation that is commercially-focused, technically astute and cost-effective. This ensures that they can help clients to achieve their objectives whilst avoiding or minimising regulatory risk.

Our barristers have particular experience in:

  • Appeals against decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the European Commission (EC) and other competition and regulatory authorities.
  • Competition litigation, including damages actions
  • Judicial review proceedings involving competition and regulatory authorities
  • CMA and EC antitrust and regulatory investigations
  • Dawn raids by CMA and EC officials
  • CMA market studies and investigations
  • State aid, including notifications to and investigations by the EC and related litigation
  • The application of competition law to a wide range of commercial agreements and business practices
  • Merger control proceedings before the CMA, EC and other authorities
  • Ensuring compliance with the public procurement rules

Our team appear before the UK and EU courts and also represent clients at mediations, arbitrations and other forms of ADR.

Our barristers regularly deliver lectures to solicitors and other professionals on recent developments in competition and regulatory law and practice. If you are interested in arranging a lecture then please contact our clerks.


Parties may agree to arbitration as a private means of resolving most commercial disputes – either before or after the dispute has arisen.  Members have for example conducted arbitrations concerning care home fee setting by local authorities in Wales, professional partnership disputes in England, and patent licensing in California.

In the construction industry, the advent of adjudication (and removal of arbitration as the default dispute resolution mechanism in many standard form contracts), has seen the use of arbitration reduce in England and Wales. In those cases where arbitration agreements are still made however, the need for specialist arbitration lawyers is as strong as ever. Moreover, in the international context, arbitration remains the primary means for dispute resolution.

Our arbitration team includes a number of members with experience and expertise representing parties in arbitration, including some with significant international experience, and a practising Chartered Arbitrator.


At St John’s Chambers we have a highly specialist inquest team who, with members of our clinical negligence and personal injury teams, regularly undertake inquest work. We have significant expertise in deaths arising in state custody and other Article 2 cases.

Our team has a significant breadth of experience in inquest and public inquiry work, providing expertise at all levels of seniority. Our barristers provide first class guidance, support, advice and representation throughout the whole inquest process.

We act for all types of interested person including:

  • All those at risk of prosecution or criticism, for example by the HSE or CQC
  • Hospital Trusts
  • Police, fire and ambulance services and members
  • Prisons
  • Local Authorities, Social Services and similar agencies suspected of being involved in a death
  • Residential and care homes and their directors, managers, and employees

Members of our specialist inquest team have extensive experience in dealing with complex and long running inquests, often where Article 2 of the ECHR is engaged and frequently involving a jury. Such cases include deaths in custody, death following police restraint or contact, prison deaths, military deaths and deaths where the deceased was vulnerable perhaps by reason of age or mental illness and was under the care of the state in some way.

Within our specialist inquest team we have regulatory and disciplinary barristers who appreciate the importance of giving proper advice to potential witnesses who may be at risk of prosecution and/or whose activities may be called in to question. We understand the significance of the evidence that is given at such proceedings most particularly as it may relate to prosecutions under health and safety regulation or road traffic provisions.

We have experience of emergency judicial review and also advise on how best to use evidence elicited at inquest in subsequent criminal and civil proceedings.

Our team boasts specialist advocates with expertise in personal injury and clinical negligence matters who understand the importance and implications of an inquest finding on a potential future claim. In the context of a death in hospital or a death related to medical care, specialist clinical negligence barristers in our team will provide a level of expertise from the early stages of an inquest to any potential future claim for damages. Likewise in any future possible fatal accident claim, our team has a full depth of knowledge to be able to provide the advice and representation needed.

The team thoroughly understand the nuances of the Coronial process, the nature of advocacy required at these hearings and the related procedure.

Under the public access scheme, our Inquest team can either provide full representation at the inquest or give advice and legal support to family members who wish to represent themselves.

We will always consider alternative funding arrangements including fixed or capped fees where this is appropriate.

Our team regularly delivers lectures to solicitors and other professionals on recent developments in the law and practice. If you are interested in arranging a lecture then please contact our clerks.

Industrial Disease

“The set has seen a particular increase in industrial disease work of late, on both the claimant and defendant side, with Andrew McLaughlin holding expertise in the area.” Legal 500 (2016)


Our industrial disease team have expertise across the whole range of industrial disease litigation.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer claims
  • NIHL and acoustic shock
  • Occupational asthma
  • Work related upper limb disorder (WRULD)
  • Stress at work cases including bullying and harassment
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
  • Chemical, microbiological and other COSSH claims
  • Dermatitis

Our team is lead by the formidable Andrew McLaughlin who is described in Legal 500 as “very skilled and experienced,” and is a recommended specialist in Chambers UK’s spotlight table for disease work. Our barristers range in call from 1975 through to 2009, and have the depth and breadth of experience required to deal with all levels of disease work, understanding the need for clear and practical advice in complex claims.

Recent successes include successfully representing the defendant in the Court of Appeal in the case of Coventry University v Mian [2014] EWCA Civ 1275, an appeal against a decision of HHJ Barrie that the university was liable to Dr Mian, a senior lecturer, for work-related stress. In 2013 defeating a huge claim for stress at work involving an 8 day High Court trial, and acting on behalf of the Bank of New York Mellon in connection with a claim in excess of £1 million by a former Head of Executive Office for stress at work, which was reported in the national press.

All members of the team are willing to travel to visit those clients terminally ill or suffering from mesothelioma. They pride themselves in the prompt turnaround of advices and other such written work that may be required.