News


Leslie Blohm QC analyses the relevant principle of proprietary estoppel in Thompson v Thompson

Leslie Blohm QCLeslie Blohm QC, who is renown for his expertise in farming cases provides an analysis of the relevant principle of proprietary estoppel in the case of Thompson v Thompson [2018] EWHC 1338 (Ch), [2018] All ER (D) 34 (Jun) for LexisNexis.

According to Leslie, the case of Thompson v Thompson demonstrates the willingness of the court, in appropriate circumstances, to award the entirety of a farm to a farmer’s child following a lifetime of work and after informal promises of succession made to him by his parents, under the doctrine of proprietary estoppel.

Read more: The relevant principle of proprietary estoppel

This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Private Client on 25 June 2018.

Leslie has recently appeared in a number of high profile agricultural estoppel claims. In February 2018 he represented Lucy Habberfield in her claim against her mother for a share of her mother’s and father’s farm, relying on many promises said to have been made to her during the period when she worked on the farm for low wages and for long hours. After a five-day trial, Mr Justice Birss awarded Ms Habberfield a lump sum of £1,170,000 in respect of her claim. He also represented the claimant in the case of Davies v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 568 (the ‘Cowshed Cinderella’ case), both in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, in her claim to an entitlement to or interest in the family pedigree Holstein/Friesian dairy farm resulting from years of underpaid work.

View profile: Leslie Blohm QC

If you would like to instruct Leslie on a related matter, please contact his clerks:  | 0117 923 4740

Court of Appeal hands down judgment in the case of Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited

James MarwickJames Marwick, personal injury barrister, provides a case law update in the judgment handed down today in the Court of Appeal in the case of Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1654.

This was a leapfrog appeal from the judgment of Regional Costs Judge Hale on a fundamental question under the QOWCS regime, namely the entitlement of a defendant to enforce an adverse costs order against damages recovered by a claimant from a co-defendant.

The Court of Appeal’s decision has important ramifications for the approach to multiple defendant litigation in personal injury proceedings.

The Court of Appeal has now held that a co-defendant can take advantage of sums paid to a claimant by another co-defendant on a proper construction of CPR44.14(1).

In fairly striking terms, Lord Justice Coulson considered that any other result would give a claimant carte blanche to commence proceedings against as many defendants as he or she likes, requiring those defendants to run up large bills whilst remaining safe in the knowledge that if the claim failed against one of those defendants, he or she will incur no costs liability.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeal found that the Costs Judge was right to conclude that a defendant could enforce its costs order out of damages and interest recovered from another defendant (up to the limit of the order for damages).

The Court of Appeal did, however, also find that the defendants in the present case (a multi-party NIHL case which had been resolved by a Tomlin order) were stymied because the sums payable pursuant to a schedule of a Tomlin order were not sums within the meaning of CPR44.14(1).

Lord Justice Coulson did reference in his judgment that the circumstances of cross-enforceability he was considering were those where a Bullock or Sanderson order was inappropriate and thus where a defendant had been freely sued.   On first impressions, there will have to be a renewed focus (as there was pre-QOWCS) on the underlying merits and reasons for pursuing multiple defendants before embarking on multi-party litigation.

View judgment: Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1654

View profile: James Marwick

Peter Wadsley presents a talk on the five year housing land supply at the Royal Town Planning Institute training day

Peter WadsleyHead of our Planning team, Peter Wadsley presented a talk on the subject of the ‘Five year Housing Land supply’ at the Royal Town Planning Institute training day in London on 3rd July 2018.  Other speakers covered a number of issues including the proposed methodology for calculating housing need and the Housing Delivery Test – both the subject of the 2018 draft NPPF.

Peter’s talk covered the important differences between the present NPPF para. 14 and the new para. 11. In particular, the way in which NPPF11 has recognised the approach of the Supreme Court in the Suffolk Coastal case and no longer speaks of ‘relevant policies for the supply of housing’ and hence has accepted that the approach should be (NPPF75) to ask whether there is deliverable 5-year HLS, plus buffer, or whether the Housing Delivery Test indicates that delivery of housing has been substantially (75%) below the housing requirement over the previous 3 years.   If so, NPPF11(d) applies the tests including the ‘tilted’ balance hitherto found in the present NPPF14.

In addition Peter drew the group’s attention to the effect of Suffolk Coastal and noted that the new NPPF11(d) has negatived the SC’s suggestion that the application of NPPF11(d) should include development plan policies.   He considered Barfield Land and other recent decisions including the Court of Appeal decision in St. Modwen on the meaning of deliverability and its application to the new NPPF.   He also referred to the recent statement of the Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, on ‘land banking’ by developers and how the government was seeking to cut it down.   He referred also to the linked comment of Ouseley J in St. Modwen on this topic.

Peter is experienced in cases at the intersection between environmental and planning law. He is highly experienced in inquiries and appeals, as well as in judicial review proceedings, and frequently acts on behalf of local authorities and developers.

If you would like to instruct Peter on a planning matter, please contact his clerks on: or 0117 923 4740

View profile: Peter Wadsley

Download notes: The Five Year Housing Land Supply

Great Boules of Fire | St John’s Chambers win the Bath Boules tournament on Saturday, 16 June 2018!

Earlier this summer members of our personal injury team took part in the annual Bath Boules tournament on 16 June in Queen Square, Bath. The event sees over 64 teams compete in a number of heats with two finalists boule’ing it out for the coveted trophy.

This year we are proud to announce that our team of four, from left to right as pictured in the above photograph: Head of Personal Injury, Glyn Edwards, James Marwick, Richard Stead and James Hughes won the tournament!

St John’s Chambers have been a ‘Little Boules Sponsor’ for five years, and each year we have taken part in the tournament, so we are delighted to have finally won. The annual event hosted in Bath raises money for local charities via the Bath Boules Trust, last year the event raised over £50,000 and we are hoping that this total has increased with this year’s event.

Thanks to all who attended, donated and took part and made this year’s event one not to forget!

St John’s Chambers celebrates 40 successful years in business

On the 7th June 2018, St John’s Chambers and 300 guests celebrated 40 years of business, held in the Sansovino Hall at the luxurious Bristol Harbour Hotel in the heart of the city.

Clients were welcomed with glasses of fizz, and throughout the event delicious food was served including canapés, live cooking demonstrations at the Sushi Bar, as well as strawberries & cream, all within the beautiful garden with picket fences, garden benches and lots of flowers.

Guests were joined by Kate Middleton and Austin Powers (lookalikes), as well as Serge from the Royale Casino – a magician, who astounded guests with his captivating close-up magic performance, and in the background the music was provided by the HipCats, making it a night to remember.

Head of Chambers, Susan Hunter, welcomed everyone to the event, whilst Christopher Sharp QC, one of two founding members in attendance that night, spoke on the changes that have occurred over the last forty years, in both our home lives and in the legal world, from the arrival of the internet and mobile phones through to Brexit.

St John’s Chambers opened in 1978 in Broad Street, Bristol with five members;  the life expectancy of the business was six months.  Forty years on, the business has grown to over 85 members, moved to modern offices in Victoria Street, has won numerous legal awards including the current ‘Regional Set of the Year 2018’ by Legal 500 UK Bar, and with a strong reputation for quality professional legal advice in the South West.

All our barristers and members of staff would like to thank our clients for joining us in celebrating our 40th Birthday Party.

Latest article from Joss Knight | A common intention constructive trust claim where the legal owner has passed away

Joss Knight, member of our wills and trusts team, writes an article for the Summer edition of the Trusts & Estates Journal in which he examines a claim for an interest in property on the basis of constructive trust brought after the legal owner has died.

Joss has particular experience of dealing with such claims having acted for the successful Defendant in the High Court in the much-publicised case of Culliford v Thorpe [2018] EWHC 426 (Ch). This case provides a useful example of the principles relating to common intention constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel in action.

This article was first published in Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal (July/August 2018) and is available at lawjournals.co.uk.

Download article: Gone but not forgotten

View profile: Joss Knight

If you would like to instruct Joss on a related matter please contact his clerks: 0117 923 4740 or 

Natasha Dzameh to speak at the BLS Dispute Resolution Conference | 3 July 2018

Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017”, Natasha Dzameh, will be speaking at the Bristol Law Society’s Dispute Resolution Conference on 3 July 2018. She will be discussing the current position in respect of litigants in person and vexatious litigants as well as providing guidance on how to deal with them. Natasha is a member of our commercial and chancery practice group.

The conference covers a wide variety of hot topics for litigators, particularly those involved in commercial disputes. The speakers are representatives of the Bristol and London Bar, law firms and the judiciary (including QCs).


View: Natasha’s Profile

Download: Dispute Resolution Conference Programme and Delegate Booking Form

To book a place via the BLS complete the Delegate Booking Form and return to Clair Ponting, events@bristollawsociety.com or send by post to Bristol Law Society, 12 Colston Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4ST

If you would like to instruct Natasha as counsel on a commercial or chancery matter, or as a mediator, please contact her clerks on:  or 0117 923 4740

Robert Mills represents the Claimant awarded the highest ever damages in a dental negligence case

Clinical negligence specialist, Robert Mills has successfully represented the Claimant at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 11th June 2018, in a claim for extensive restorative treatment arising out of a wide range of negligently performed dental treatment. The Claimant was awarded the highest general damages award ever reported in a dental negligence case in the sum of £65,000.00. Total damages were again the highest reported in a dental claim and amounted to over £160,000.00.

There were four elements to general damages:

  1.  The loss of nine otherwise healthy teeth.
  2.  37 unnecessary items of dental treatment including crowns and root canal fillings.
  3. Occlusal problems such that the Claimant had only three contact points in her mouth and was unable to eat hard foods.
  4. Psychological injury in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder and specific phobia anxiety relating to dental treatment.

The Judge described the treatment provided by the Defendant dentist as “appalling”.

Robert was instructed by Katie Parr of Royds Withy King.

If you would like to instruct Robert Mills in any dental negligence matter, please contact his clerks on 0117 923 4730 or email:  

Leslie Blohm QC acts in latest farming case: Gee v Gee [2018] EWHC 1393 Ch

Leslie Blohm QCLeslie Blohm QC, one of the country’s foremost chancery barristers, with experience of appearing in front of the highest courts in wills and trusts cases, has recently been instructed in the latest farming case to consider a claim to the family farm by a farmer’s child. Instructed by Robert James of Thrings, Leslie successfully acted for the Claimant in Gee v Gee [2018] EWHC 1393 Ch.

The Claimant, now sixty years old, sought to succeed to the farm he was promised over decades. His father had recently given his interest in the family farm and the family farming company to his other son, a property developer. The case was complicated by the total denial by both the father and the other son of any promises being made to the Claimant, the nature of the promises that were claimed (relating to the ‘lion’s share’ of the farm), and the fact that the mother had already given her share of the farm and company to the Claimant son to try to remedy what she saw as unjust behaviour.

Mr Justice Birss heard evidence over five days and awarded the Claimant son his expectation interest, but with the detailed order to await a subsequent hearing.

Download judgment: Gee v Gee [2018] EWHC 1393 Ch

Leslie is at the forefront of many farming estate cases having recently represented Lucy Habberfield in her claim against her mother for a share of her mother’s and father’s farm, relying on many promises said to have been made to her during the period when she worked on the farm for low wages and for long hours.  He also represented the Claimant  in the case of Davies v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 568 (the ‘Cowshed Cinderella’ case), both in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, in her claim to an entitlement to or interest in the family pedigree Holstein/Friesian dairy farm resulting from years of underpaid work.

If you would like to instruct Leslie on a related matter please contact his clerks: 0117 923 4740 or 

Financial remedy update: Latest article from Christopher Sharp QC

Christopher Sharp QC, who is acknowledged by Chambers UK as one of only five star Silks in family law in the country has written an article for the Summer edition of the FLBA’s ‘Family Affairs’ magazine.

The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, written for and published within FLBA’s ‘Family Affairs’, this one covering the period from February to May 2018. All updates are also available to download from Christopher’s online website profile.

To view the full article please click the following link: Financial remedy update June 2018

If you would like to instruct Christopher on a related matter please contact his clerks: 0117 923 4720 or email

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