Leslie Blohm QC speaks at the official launch of the Bristol Business & Property Courts

Leslie Blohm QCFriday the 12th January marked the official opening ceremony of the Bristol Business & Property Courts.

  • The event saw speeches from;
    The Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales (Rt Hon The Lord Burnett of Maldon),
    The Chancellor of the High Court (Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos),
    The Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court (Popplewell J),
    The Supervising Judge of the Business & Property Courts of the Western Circuit (Birss J) with the Presiding Judge of the Western Circuit (May J) in the chair.
    Leslie Blohm QC spoke on behalf of the local practitioners.
  • Other Judges and dignitaries present included;
    HHJ Cotter QC (Designated Civil Judge)
    HHJ Paul Matthews
    HHJ Russen QC
    DJ Cope
    DJ Cronin
    DJ Rowe
    DJ Howell
    DJ Watson
    The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol – Councillor Lesley Alexander
    Anthony Brown Esq High Sheriff of Bristol.

A copy of the Lord Chief Justice’s speech can be found by clicking here.

The opening ceremony was followed by a reception held at the University of Law.

Applications are now open for St John’s Chambers 2019 Pupillage

Applications for St John’s Chambers 2019 Pupillage are now open. To apply please refer to the Guidance Notes where you will also be prompted to complete our Equality & Diversity Questionnaire after submitting your completed Pupillage application form.

All completed application forms must be submitted and sent to Isabelle Mills at the following email address:  no later than Monday 5 February 2018 by 3 pm.

Downloadable documents

St John’s Chambers is delighted to announce that Jeremy Phillips has been appointed Queens Counsel

Jeremy Phillips is an associate member of St John’s, and an expert in planning / highways, regulation, licensing and mediation. We congratulate Jeremy on this achievement in being appointed Queens Counsel. The formal silk ceremony will take place on Monday the 26 February 2018 at the Palace of Westminster, London.

This year’s competition sees a total of 119 new appointments, a full list of which can be found by clicking here.

If you would like to instruct Jeremy please contact his clerks:  | 0117 923 4740

St John’s Chambers Wins Regional/Scottish “Set of the Year 2018” for The Legal 500 Awards UK Bar

We are delighted to announce our success in being awarded “Set of the Year 2018” in the Regional/Scottish category for The Legal 500 Awards UK Bar 2018. Thank you to all of our referees for their ongoing support, without you this achievement would not have been possible. To view the full results please click here.

Our CEO, Derek Jenkins adds, “We are delighted to have won this prestigious national award which reflects the great work St John’s has achieved and recognises Chambers’ as a leading set.”

St John’s Chambers and Silks shortlisted for Legal 500 UK Awards 2018

It is with great pleasure that we announce both St. John’s Chambers and two of our Silks; Leslie Blohm QC and Kathryn Skellorn QC having been shortlisted for the Legal 500 UK Awards 2018.

St John’s Chambers is up for The Legal 500 UK Regional/Scottish Chambers of the year and our two Silks have both been shortlisted for The Legal 500 UK Regional/Scottish Silk of the year.

Leslie has been a member of chambers since 1984, and is now one of the Western Circuit’s leading commercial and chancery practitioners, both in advisory work and in litigation in all Courts from the most local up to and including the House of Lords and the Supreme Court.

Kathryn took silk in 2014 after twenty years as a specialist Children Act practitioner dealing with complex care work and contentious private law matters. She works across a full spectrum of cases in the Family Court, Higher Courts and the Court of Protection.

Thank you to all of our referees that have made our shortlisting possible.

To view the complete shortlist list please click here.

Our CEO, Derek Jenkins says “This demonstrates that St John’s Chambers is a leading set in the region with Chambers and two Silks shortlisted.”

Business & Property Courts in Bristol and Cardiff | John Sharples

John SharplesSt John’s Chambers’ commercial & chancery specialist, John Sharples reminds readers of the changes made with the introduction of the new Business and Property Courts. The courts became operational in London and certain regional centres, including Bristol and Cardiff, on 2nd October 2017.

The New Court
The B&PC unites the specialist civil jurisdictions of the High Court under one umbrella. It is divided into separate specialist courts or lists, some of which are then further subdivided. The main ones are: the Business list (ChD), the Commercial Court (QBD), the Insolvency and Companies list (ChD), the Property, Trusts and Probate list (ChD) and the Technology and Construction Court (ChD). The different Courts/Lists and examples of cases with which each deals can be found in the most recent (13.10.17) Advisory Note here. Please check this website periodically for updates.

An important change
One of the most important changes for regional practitioners is that claims with a “significant link” to a particular Circuit “must” be issued in the B&PC District Registry for that Circuit: para 2.3(2) of the draft Practice Direction (which is appended to the Advisory Note).

A “significant link” with a Circuit exists where (a) one/more of the parties has an address or registered office in it (b) at least one of the witnesses lives there (c) it is the location of the dispute (d) the dispute concerns land, goods or other assets located in it or (e) the parties’ legal representatives are based there: draft PD para 2.3(3). Where a claim has links with more than one Circuit it should be issued in the one with which it has the most significant links: draft PD para 2.3(2).

Transfers between courts will continue to be governed by CPR 30.2 and 30.5 but the draft Practice Direction gives specific guidance about transferring cases in the B&PC between the RCJ and the District Circuits. It requires the court considering a transfer to have regard to, amongst other things, any “significant link” with a Circuit: draft PD para 3.1(3).

The likely outcome is that many, if not most, cases with a substantial connection to a local Circuit (for example, a dispute involving land located in it) will be heard there. An increase in the volume of B&PC work in the Circuits can therefore be expected. Local cases which previously were dealt with in London should be issued in the relevant Circuit and, if not, are likely to be transferred there.

Starting claims
For claims started after 2.10.17, statements of case in the B&PC must display the Court’s new title. So, for example, a dispute involving land in Bristol should be headed:

In the High Court of Justice
Business and Property Courts in Bristol
Property Trusts and Probate List (ChD)

Contentious probate disputes, family provision cases and administration proceedings, amongst others, will continue to bear their current subheadings (e.g. “In the estate of AB deceased”). The Advisory Note contains a list of useful examples.

Equivalent cases in the County Court that were previously marked “Chancery Business” will now be marked “Business and Property Court Work”. So the heading should read:

In the County Court at Cardiff
Business and Property Courts Work
Procedure in the Business and Property Courts

The B&PC applies the practice and procedures under the CPR and the Insolvency Rules generally but the new Practice Direction, when implemented, will apply specifically to it.

In addition, a draft pilot scheme, which will be tested in the B&PC and will involve significant changes to the rules on disclosure, has recently (2.11.17) been published. Details can be found here. The Chancery Bar’s first response to these proposals can be found here. There will be a consultation process with open events held in local Circuits. The new rules are expected to be approved in March/April 2018.

The creation of the B&PC and in particular the new rules requiring cases with a local connection to be issued/tried in the District Circuits it covers are a welcome – if overdue – recognition of the specialist skill and knowledge developed by local solicitors and the local Bar.

The B&PC confirms that no case is too big to be tried in the regions and in so doing helps to promote the goals of facilitating access to high quality justice that is convenient and efficient and of reducing excessive litigation costs.

St John’s receives recognition for 19 separate practice areas in this year’s Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018 Guide

We are delighted to announce that we have been hugely successful in this year’s Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018 Guide. We have been recognised in a total of 19 separate practice areas, with individual members listed in Band 1 for 13 of those.

For the full list of rankings, please click here

If you would like to instruct any of our barristers please contact the clerks:

Re-opening of the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre

Following discussions with its contractors, the court has announced it will re-open to the public on Tuesday 14th November 2017.

In preparation for this, a closure order has been approved for Monday 13th November 2017, meaning there will be no counter services available on Monday the 13th November but court hearings will go ahead as planned at the temporary venues currently being used.

St John’s Chambers providing ‘London-quality advice locally’ with ‘a good breadth and depth of expertise’

We are delighted to announce that St John’s Chambers has been recommended as a Top Tier Set in the Western Circuit’s Leading Set by The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017.

For one solicitor, St John’s Chambers is ‘one of the leading sets in the South West’, providing ‘London-quality advice locally’ with ‘a good breadth and depth of expertise’. We specialise in civil matters and have been noted for our strength in commercial, construction, family, personal injury, clinical negligence, regulatory and public law matters. Inquests and inquiries is another key area for our Chambers’.

Three of our QCs are listed in the Western Circuits “Leading silks” list, The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017’s guide to outstanding silks nationwide.

Christopher Sharp QC, Family and children law & personal injury and clinical negligence, “He has a brilliant mind that understands the intricacies of any case.”

Leslie Blohm QC, Commercial, banking, insolvency, Chancery law and Property, “He is very grounded but has an air of absolute authority.”

Kathryn Skellorn QC, Family and children law, “Clients are in awe of her.”

In addition to the success of our QC’s, 38 of our barristers are listed in the “Leading juniors” list, The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017’s guide to outstanding juniors nationwide.

To view further details on our Chambers’ listings please click here

Guy Adams obtains permission for residents’ parking in Bath

Guy AdamsGuy Adams, member of our Commercial & Chancery Practice Group, has obtained permission to proceed with a judicial review in relation to the residents’ parking scheme in Bath.

Guy acts for Willat’s Charity which was established in 1858 to provide support workers to minister to “the lowest and poorest members of society”.  It owns various residential and commercial properties in Bath, which it lets out to maintain an income.  It is bringing judicial review proceedings in order to establish its rights, as the owner of properties fronting the highway, to park on the highway in central Bath.  The Council maintains that by a Local Order made in 2015 all permit parking in Central Bath is now a matter for its administrative discretion, and under its policy occupiers of some of the Charity’s Georgian properties, which have recently been renovated and brought back into use, are not eligible for permits.  The making of the Order was not widely publicised and, as Mr Justice Fraser pointed out in his judgment granting permission for the judicial review to proceed, the single advertisement of the proposed order in the local newspaper did not on its face suggest that anything was going to change. The Charity does not accept that the 2015 Order is a lawful order.

View profile: Guy Adams

If you would like to instruct Guy on a related matter, please contact his clerks:

 | 0117 923 4740