Natasha Dzameh to provide junior lawyers with guidance on instructing counsel and building relationships

Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017”, Natasha Dzameh, will be speaking at the National JLD Forum in Bristol on 10 March 2018 to trainees, NQs and solicitors up to 5 years’ PQE. She will be providing guidance on instructing counsel and building relationships, focusing in particular on the factors to consider when drafting instructions and the components of a brief which may help or hinder counsel. Natasha is a member of the Commercial and Chancery Practice Group.

The forum is a free full day event involving presentations on a variety of legal practice and career management topics. It is designed to help junior lawyers understand current market place trends, navigate moves between firms and up the scale of seniority within firms, increase commercial awareness, learn about alternative legal careers and understand how to develop a career working abroad.

View profile: Natasha Dzameh

To book a place via the JLD: National JLD Forum

 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


Friday 2 March | Bristol Snow Update

The Bristol Civil Justice Centre will not be sitting today Friday 2 March due to the adverse weather conditions.

Chambers is running a skeleton staff and is open until 1 pm today; we are picking up emails and mobile contact details can be found below:

  • Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Practice Groups Annette Bushell, Practice Manager 07710 463 258
  • Commercial and Chancery, Employment and Public & Administrative Practice Groups Rob Bocock, Practice Manager 07801 825 013
  • Family Practice Group Luke Hodgson, Practice Manager 07929 432 614
  • Chief Executive Derek Jenkins 07807 225 964
  • Office Manager Isabelle Mills 07779 906 327

St John’s Chambers is delighted to announce our five newly trained mediators

Congratulations to our newly qualified trained mediators: James Pearce-Smith, Christopher Jones and Natasha Dzameh of our Commercial & Chancery Practice Group along with Vanessa McKinlay and Marcus Coates-Walker from Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury.

St John’s Chambers is delighted to announce that with these five newly trained mediators we now have a total of 26 within our Chambers.

Our newly qualified Members include: James Pearce-Smith, an experienced litigator who specialises in commercial and property disputes; Christopher Jones, a chancery and commercial specialist with particular emphasis on trust litigation and advice, contentious and non-contentious probate applications, real property litigation (particularly in relation to easements, restrictive covenants and contracts for the sale of land) and commercial and agricultural landlord and tenant disputes; and Natasha Dzameh, Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017” who is a member of our Commercial and Chancery team. Natasha often appears in the County Court and the High Court for trials, procedural matters such as CMCs, CCMCs and PTRs, and interim applications e.g. pre-action disclosure, set aside, strike out and summary judgment.

From our Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Practice Groups the following Members have also qualified this month: Vanessa McKinlay, Head of the Clinical Negligence Practice Group who leads a successful and expanding clinical negligence practice group. She brings a strong medical knowledge to her extensive clinical negligence practice and to personal injury cases in which complex medical issues arise; and Marcus Coates-Walker, who deals in personal injury, clinical negligence and inquest work. He is regularly instructed to conduct cases on the Fast-Track and Multi-Track and is very experienced in conducting trials and interim hearings, drafting pleadings and Part 35 questions to experts, and providing advice on liability, quantum and settlement tactics.

Our barristers are happy to travel to you, or alternatively we are able to host mediations here at St John’s Chambers without any additional costs. The main conference room can comfortably house up to 24 people. Video conferencing is available along with Wi-Fi, and all necessary catering and refreshments can be provided.

To instruct one of our barristers on a mediation matter please contact the following clerks:

| 0117 923 4740

| 0117 923 4730

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: