St John’s Chambers welcomes public and commercial law barrister Tim Leader

St John’s Chambers is delighted to announce that Tim Leader (Call 1994), formerly of 4 – 5 Gray’s Inn Square, has joined the set with immediate effect.

Tim specialises in public and commercial law. His public law practice includes judicial review and statutory review of decisions by public bodies and appearing at inquiries and tribunals, especially in the fields of planning and local government law. His commercial practice focuses on commercial and real property matters and contractual disputes.

Tim’s cases of interest include:

Runnymede Borough Council v Doig and others [2017] EWHC 1873 (Ch)Interim injunctions and human rights issues in relation to gypsies and travellers

Bloor Homes East Midlands Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council [2014] EWHC 754 (Admin)
Calculation of 5 year housing land supply; prematurity; plan “silent or absent”; need for policies to incorporate a cost: benefit approach

Oadby and Wigston Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2016] EWCA 1040; JPL 358
5 year housing land supply, choice of HMA on s.78 appeals and for the preparation of local plans

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] 2464 (Admin)
5 year housing land supply, affordable housing

Pathfield Estates Ltd v Haringey London Borough Council [2013] EWHC 2053 (Admin)
Interpretation of s.181 TCPA 1990 focusing on the distinction between operational development and a change of use for the purposes of Part VII of the Act

 R (de Whalley) v. Norfolk County Council [2011] EWHC 3739
Pre-determination and bias and the lawfulness of whipping following the enactment of the Local Government Act 2000

Shadwell Estates v Breckland District Council and Another [2013] Env. L.R. D2
Challenging local plans on environmental grounds relating to SPAs, Habitat Regulations and sustainability appraisals

R (Oadby Hilltop and Meadowcourt Conservation Area Association) v Oadby and Wigston Borough Co
Decision making by elected members and officer reports

Welcoming Tim back to St John’s Chambers after a 10 year spell as a senior officer in local government, Peter Wadsley, Head of the Public and Administrative Practice Group said:” We are so pleased that Tim has joined chambers as he comes with a formidable reputation for his public and commercial law experience. He adds further weight to our established and growing team”.

Tim said: “I am pleased to be re-joining St John’s Chambers. The set has an excellent reputation in the planning and local government field. It is also a progressive, modern chambers, having won the Bristol Law Society’s “Chambers of the Year” Award for two years running. The clerking is superb, and I am very excited at the prospect of working as part of the planning team”.

Latest article from John Dickinson | Mutual Wills: the case of Legg and Burton v Burton and others | A proprietary estoppel solution to replace the need for a binding contract?

John DickinsonJohn Dickinson, barrister within St John’s Chambers’ Wills, Trusts and Tax team, was successful in acting for the Claimants in the two day trial heard on 2nd and 3rd August, with judgment being handed down by His Honour Judge Matthews on 11th August 2017 in the High Court, Chancery Division of the Bristol District Registry. The Claimants established a constructive trust under the doctrine of mutual wills under which the estate of their Deceased mother was held for the Claimants, rather than being held under her last Will for various of her grandchildren and others. The judgment is available here.

The case contains a useful summary of the mutual wills doctrine. HHJ Matthews considered submissions made on the fallibility of memory, referring to the decision of Leggatt J in Blue v Ashley [2017] EWHC 1928 (Comm) and he analysed the evidence in terms of its inherent probability and the plausibility of the Claimants’ case. HHJ Matthews finds a proprietary estoppel route around the problem in the much criticised case of Healey v Brown [2002] EWHC 1405 (Ch), in which section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 was held to prevent a binding contract from arising for a specific gift of an interest in land and this in turn prevented a mutual wills constructive trust from being established. There is an interesting analysis of when a mutual wills constructive trust crystallises. HHJ Matthews considered that in a mutual wills case the constructive trust would generally arise on the death of the second testator, unless the agreement made between them had some term providing to the contrary. He considered whether the mutual wills constructive trust satisfied the so-called ‘three certainties’ rule, being (1) the intention to make a gift, (2) over what property and (3) who to. HHJ Matthews explains that the ‘three certainties’ rule is not a rule about trust law but rather a rule about property law, and that trusts being part of property law must follow that rule.

Read the full article: Mutual Wills: the case of Legg and Burton v Burton and others | A proprietary estoppel solution to replace the need for a binding contract?

View the judgment: Legg and Burton v Burton [2017] EWHC 2088 (Ch)

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Latest article by Christopher Sharp QC | The Family Court’s jurisdiction to direct the burial of a child

CChristopher Sharphristopher 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 August edition of the Family Law Journal, reviewing the recent case of Re K (A Child : deceased) [2017] EWHC 1083 (Fam).

While it is not uncommon for the Court to have to rule between disputing parties as to who should have the authority (and responsibility) to arrange the disposal of a body, and consequently and coincidentally often, where the body is to be buried and perhaps according to what rites, the question of whether the Court has jurisdiction to order that a body be buried, promptly and with all proper respect and decency, due to a delay in making the arrangements by those who would normally be expected to do so appears not to have been decided until Hayden J ruled on the topic very recently in Re K (A Child : deceased) [2017] EWHC 1083 (Fam). Christopher Sharp QC reviews the statutory and inherent jurisdiction and procedure, the case law and Hayden J’s approach to the problem.

Download article: The family courts jurisdiction to direct the burial of a child – Re K – Christopher Sharp QC

“Christopher is … brilliant on the detail, very clever, very thorough, and he doesn’t give up – he’s a classic QC.’ “Chambers UK (2017).

View profile: Christopher Sharp QC 

Court of Appeal provides much needed clarity on QOCS where there has been pre and post 1st April 2013 CFAs writes Darren Lewis

Darren Lewis, member of St John’s Chambers’ personal injury team, provides an insightful analysis of the recent Court of Appeal case of Catalano v Espley-Tyas Development Group Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 1132, which overturns the Court’s findings in the case of Julie Casseldine v Diocese of Llandaff Board for Social Responsibility (a charity) (2015).

Click here to read the full case: Catalano v Espley-Tyas Development Group Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 1132

Read the full article: New Court of Appeal Judgment provides clarity on QOCS – Darren Lewis of St John’s Chambers – 31 07 17. pdf

View profile: Darren Lewis

If you would like to instruct Darren on a related matter please contact his clerks via email on 

Financial Remedy update: Summer edition | Latest article from Christopher Sharp QC

CChristopher Sharphristopher 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 newsletter, Family Affairs.

The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from March 2017 to June 2017.

Download article: Family Affairs June 2017 | Summer Edition | Financial Remedy update (04.03.17 – 13.06.17)

“Christopher is hugely respected for his experience of representing high net worth clients in major ancillary relief and ToLATA cases. He regularly acts in matters with an international element to them. ‘He’s brilliant on the detail, very clever, very thorough, and he doesn’t give up – he’s a classic QC.’ “Chambers UK (2017).

View profile: Christopher Sharp QC 


Latest article from Patrick West | QOCS and Credit Hire: a Pyrrhic victory avoided and…Autofocus: the End of the Road.

Patrick WestPatrick West, a member of St John’s Chambers’ Personal Injury team, has recently published an article on credit hire charges referencing the case of Select Car Rentals (North West) Ltd v Esure Services Ltd (2017) [2017] EWHC 1434 (QB).

In this case, involving a claim for £23,456.85 for credit hire charges, the Court held that third party credit hire companies might be vulnerable to adverse costs orders and that CPR 44.16 had not altered the powers of courts to exercise their discretion in such matters pursuant to CPR 46.2.

The defendant insurer Esure successfully defended an action for damages by four claimants whose claims were described as “very suspicious” by the trial judge but which he declined to find were in fact fraudulent allowing the defendant to pierce their QOCS protection and make an application for defence costs to be paid.

Many road traffic cases involving personal injury simultaneously found a claim for recovery for credit hire charges for a third party credit hire firm.

Since the Jackson reforms the QOCS regime intervenes providing a costs shield for those claimants unless they are found to be fundamentally dishonest.

In claims where there is the suspicion of fraud but no such finding is made by the Court the difficulty for defendants is typically as described by Mr Justice Turner in this case: “The claims were thus dismissed, but Esure had won a Pyrrhic victory. Who was going to pay their costs of meeting these dubious claims?”

Pyrrhus was of course the King of Epirus who famously defeated the Romans at one battle only to find he had lost so many soldiers in the process that he could not continue the war. He is said to have told a well-wisher something along the lines of: “Much more of this and I’ll be going home alone”.

In similar style, claims like this one frequently present a lose/lose situation for defendants banging their heads against the QOCS shield.

To continue reading full article please click button below.

Download full article: QOCS and Credit Hire: a Pyrrhic victory avoided and…Autofocus: the End of the Road

View profile: Patrick West

If you would like to instruct Patrick on a related matter please contact his clerks via email on 

Construction Adjudication – are cross adjudications possible despite ISG v Seevic ?

Many of you attended our recent seminars for the Adjudication Society (Bristol on 5 July and Cardiff on 12 July). Those who did will have heard Andrew Kearney and Rebecca Taylor discussing whether the Seevic decision is correct, and suggesting that the TCC may be ready to depart from it.  If so, this could make it possible for an adjudication for the notified sum in an interim application for payment (in the absence of a payment or pay less notice) – a so called ‘smash and grab’ –  to be met by a cross adjudication to establish the true value of the work applied for – even on an interim application.  (This is already possible on a final payment dispute – Harding v Paice, CA).

In that context, the latest TCC decision is of some interest. Judgment was handed down on Wednesday 12 July, but sadly was reported too late to be included in our Cardiff seminar that evening. However, it perhaps lends further support to our predictions of the imminent demise of Seevic…..

In ICI v Merit Merrell Technology [2017] EWHC 1763 (TCC) Fraser J was dealing with the position following a repudiatory breach and considering possible legal routes to recovery of overpayment on interim applications.  Such an overpayment could of course arise wherever a notified sum has to be paid due to absence of notices and without determination of the true value of the work – as had happened in this case.  In that context it appeared to be argued that the last interim payment determined the value of the work at the date of repudiation such that there was no “accrued right” to repayment which could survive the repudiation.  Seevic was relied on in that context.
Mr Justice Fraser referred to the Court of Appeal decisions in Harding v Paice and Brown v Complete and said  
“In my judgment, the ratio of both those Court of Appeal authorities – though neither expressly finds that ISG v Seevic is wrong, because it was unnecessary for the differently constituted courts to do so – cast some real doubt on whether that case would be decided in the same way now. That must lead to similar doubts as to whether the reasoning in that case concerning rights to recover overpayments is correct….”
Where does this leave a paying party who has failed to give notices on an interim application ? 
Following a payee’s  ‘smash & grab’ (yes we know its pejorative and shouldn’t be used – but until someone comes up with a better shorthand label…..) will a second Adjudicator be willing to engage on a ‘value’ adjudication ?  Probably not – faced with Seevic, Adjudicator 2 will probably resign ?  But maybe, in a high enough value case worth running, on a Part 8 application the TCC will be willing to declare that a second adjudication on value is permissible, and essentially depart from ISG v Seevic …..   

Rebecca Taylor and Andrew Kearney are independently recommended specialists in Construction dispute resolution.  Both are accredited Adjudicators and Mediators, available for appointment in those roles, or to advise or act as party representatives, in any Construction dispute.

Contact details

To get in contact with either Rebecca or Andrew, please email at:

Rebecca Taylor:

Andrew Kearney:


The Pension Advisory Group: developing guidance on pensions on divorce

Under the leadership and joint chairmanship of Mr Justice Francis and His Honour Judge Edward Hess, the “Pension Advisory Group” (“PAG”) has been formed.

With the imprimatur of The President of the Family Division, the PAG’s brief is to conduct an interdisciplinary review of how pensions are treated on divorce and to produce a Family Justice Council pension guide for the profession and divorcing public. It is hoped that this may encourage a consistency of practice which is currently lacking.

As with the Family Justice Council and its guidance on financial needs, the PAG has no authority to change the law through any of its publications and it would not purport to do so, merely to seek to explain the current law and to facilitate best practice.

The PAG comprises a multidisciplinary group of judges, academics, actuaries, financial experts, family and pension lawyers drawn from each branch of the legal profession and a family mediator (please click on link below to read full list of members). The group has representatives of both the Family Law Bar Association and Resolution. In addition to involving several of the well-known experts who practice in this field of family law, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has appointed a representative to be part of the PAG and to provide an “outside” perspective.

Led by Hilary Woodward, the academics’ contribution to the project, funded by a Nuffield Foundation grant, will assist in ensuring that the work of PAG is firmly underpinned by objective and academically-defensible methods and analysis, and rooted in what is known from research about the longer term financial consequences of divorce.

The PAG held its first meeting on the 12 June 2017 and aims to conclude its work by the end of 2018.

Your contribution is sought
To inform its work as fully as possible, the PAG would be very interested to hear from members of the judiciary, legal, actuarial and financial professionals, and representatives of special interest groups.

To stay within manageable bounds the PAG’ s membership is necessarily limited. However, the PAG is keen to create a big tent, to listen carefully and engage widely. It hopes to receive contributions from those who may be able to provide insights on the way that the law is currently working and how practice might be improved.

If you are aware of situations where, to your mind, pension issues on divorce have not been resolved in a satisfactory fashion please let us know!

You may get in touch, in the first instance, by emailing Hilary Woodward at

To read about the PAG and its work, please click here: The Pension Advisory Group – 2017

Christopher Sharp QC, family law Silk at St John’s Chambers, is one of the legal members of the newly formed Pensions Advisory Group. He is acknowledged by Chambers UK Bar Directory as one of only five ‘star’ Silks in Family Law in the country.

Andrew Kearney successful in TCC in Dawnus Construction Holdings Ltd v Amey LG Ltd [2017]

Andrew Kearney successfully represented Amey in the recent case of Dawnus Construction Holdings Ltd v Amey LG Ltd [2017] EWHC B13 (TCC). 

This was a fascinating TCC case about whether two construction adjudication decisions Andrew Kearneyhad become binding for all time, or remained capable of challenge in Court. The sub contract between A and D contained an adjudication clause (Appendix 12), which did not contain a time bar provision.  The main contract between A and the local authority contained a NEC3 style different adjudication clause, and a time bar provision.  The sub contract expressly incorporated the terms of the main contract, save where they conflicted.  A successfully argued that the time bar provision in clause 63.2 of the main contract was not part of the adjudication provisions at all, and so was not in conflict with Appendix 12 of the sub contract.  As a result, the time bar was incorporated, and D was too late to challenge the two decisions.  This case has potentially wide ramifications for any contract which contains an adjudication provision which does not comply with s108 HGCR Act 1996, and also contains a time bar.  It is possible that the statutory Scheme will apply in place of the whole of the non compliant adjudication provisions, but the time bar will not be affected and will still apply, even to a decision made by an Adjudicator under the Scheme.

Ben Quiney QC appeared for Dawnus.

To view judgment –

View Profile: Andrew Kearney

If you would like to instruct Andrew, please contact his clerk on:

c or 0117 923 4740


St John’s Chambers host “one of the best seminars from any Chambers”

Earlier this month St John’s Chambers’  Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team hosted an interactive workshop and seminar titled ‘The Essential Toolkit for Junior Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Lawyers’.

Barristers Ben Handy, James Marwick, Jimmy Barber, James Hughes, Robert Mills and Marcus Coates-Walker ran plenary and parallel sessions throughout the afternoon referring to the latest legal developments and discussing key topics, including:

  • Schedules of loss: getting to grips with the Ogden tables and unusual heads of loss
  • Understanding causation in Clinical Negligence claims

The seminar received very positive feedback with comments such as:

“Well organised and informative, excellent materials provided.” 

“Excellent presentations. Great speakers. Interesting topics. Very relaxed.”

“All speakers are very knowledgeable. It was great to be invited to a training session aimed at junior lawyers.”

Following the success of this seminar we are looking to host a similar event in the coming months. For further information please contact Anita Young, Marketing and Events Coordinator, at   or 0117 923 4770