News


St John’s Chambers win ‘Chambers of the Year 2018’

We are delighted to announce that St John’s Chambers were voted ‘Chambers of the Year 2018’ at last night’s Bristol Law Society Annual Awards Dinner. The event was held at the Marriott Hotel, Bristol and raised funds for The Freewheelers blood bikes, a registered charity supporting the NHS in South West England by providing a free emergency motorcycle courier service. The award is given to a Chambers that is able to demonstrate excellence and innovation in the provision of legal services above and beyond their colleagues in the field including CSR activities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients, old and new, who have supported us and made this achievement possible.

Photographed above from left to right is: Rachel Segal, Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Barrister; Anita Young, Events Manager & Marketing Coordinator; Sophie Smith-Holland, Family & Divorce Barrister; Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers; Robert Bocock, Commercial & Chancery Practice Manager; Harriet Dudbridge, Family & Divorce Barrister and Annie Sampson, Commercial & Chancery Barrister.

St John’s Chambers raise £5,000 from charity dinner for AvMA and Child Brain Injury Trust

St John’s Chambers hosted an extremely successful charity dinner on Thursday, 20th September at the Bristol Harbour Hotel, raising a fantastic sum of £5,000 for AvMA and the Child Brain Injury Trust. This event was sponsored by Renvilles Costs Lawyers & Consultants, and was attended by over 150 legal professionals.

Guests were greeted with a glass of bubbly on arrival – thanks to sponsors Grant Thorton for sponsoring the welcome drinks – followed by talks from Head of Fundraising Rachel Parsons from the Child Brain Injury Trust, and Chief Executive Peter Walsh of AvMA, as well as short video clips on the work that they do. Guests then went on to enjoy their 3-course meal with His Honour Judge Cotter QC as the after-dinner speaker.

The Child Brain Injury Trust is the leading voluntary sector organisation providing emotional and practical support, information and learning opportunities for families and professionals affected by childhood-acquired brain injury across the UK. Read more.

AvMA is the UK charity for patient safety and  justice. They support and empower people harmed by failures in patient safety to get justice, and to promote safer healthcare for all. Read more.

Raffle prizes were generously donated by local businesses including: Hampton Clinic, ARAG, Parsnip Mash, Source Food Hall & Café, Click Webdesign, Calculus Legal Costs Holdings Limited, Scott Law and Tozers.

We would particularly like to say a big thank you to all those who supported us in raising much-needed funds for our chosen charities.

Rachel Parsons from the Child Brain Injury Trust said: “The charity has a dedicated Child & Family Support team who are based at Bristol Children’s Hospital and out in the community in the region.  It is a fairly new project and we are thrilled that our work in the South West was featured so prominently by St John’s Chambers.  The money that has been raised will help us to provide a lifeline to children and families in the South West whose lives have been devastated by brain injury and who have nowhere else to turn.  Thank you St John’s.”

St John’s Chambers welcomes four new tenants

It is with great pleasure we announce that all four of our current pupils: Annie Sampson (commercial and chancery); Jonathan Lindfield (personal injury and clinical negligence); Sophie Smith-Holland (family & divorce) and Harriet Dudbridge (family & divorce) have become tenants at St John’s Chambers following their successful pupillage.

Annie Sampson

Annie successfully completed her specialist pupillage within the commercial and chancery practice group and is now building on that experience to develop a broad commercial and chancery practice. Annie’s experience includes commercial disputes, including applications for interim relief; partnership disputes, in particular in an agricultural context; boundary disputes; adverse possession claims; personal insolvency; the construction and validity of wills; and 1975 Act claims.

As a result of her work as a County Court advocate before commencing pupillage, Annie also has extensive experience of residential landlord and tenant and mortgage possession proceedings. This is something which Annie has continued to build on in practice, including a one-day possession trial to evict a tenant on the basis of breach of his tenancy agreement due to anti-social behavior.

Read more about Annie

“We have been very impressed by Annie’s intellect, and ability as an advocate and a lawyer.  We look forward to working with her as a valued member of the commercial and chancery team.”
Christopher Jones, Pupil Supervisor

If you would like to instruct Annie, or have any questions, please contact her clerks:

Jonathan Lindfield

Jonathan successfully completed his pupillage under the supervision of Ben Handy and Emma Zeb. During pupillage, Jonathan has specialised in all aspects of personal injury and clinical negligence work. He has a busy practice made up of both court work and paperwork, and acts regularly for both claimants and defendants. He enjoyed a busy second six, having been regularly instructed in small claim and fast-track matters, as well as on interim bases for higher-value claims. He is well-experienced in providing detailed, clear, tactically sound advice on all aspects of the litigation process, as well as a real proficiency for courtroom advocacy. Jonathan has also drafted a number of pleadings, questions to experts, as well as a range of other documents.

He is an approachable, personable advocate who has a down-to-earth approach with both lay and professional clients. Having previously volunteered in a high street solicitors’ firm, he understands the challenges faced by those instructing him and endeavours to reflect that in his attitude towards paperwork and cases in general. He is happy to accept work on a CFA basis in suitable cases.

Read more about Jonathan

“Jonathan is another excellent addition to the team. Since the day he joined St John’s he has shown an awful lot of talent, and put in a lot of hard work. He has a very bright future ahead of him.” 
Ben Handy, Pupil Supervisor

If you would like to instruct Jonathan, or have any questions, please contact his clerks:

Harriet Dudbridge

Harriet successfully completed her pupillage under the supervision of Susan Hunter. Harriet joins St John’s Chambers as a Justice First Fellow, a scheme devised by the LegalEducation Foundation for the next generation of social welfare lawyers. She is accepting instructions in the following areas: Children – Private Law & Public Law, Schedule 1 Children Act 1989, Divorce & Financial Remedies, Part IV Family Law Act 1996 (Domestic Violence) and ToLATA 1996 matters. She is regularly instructed in a variety of hearings from FHDRA’s to finding of fact and final hearings.

Harriet represents clients in FLA 1996 proceedings, obtaining non-molestation orders at contested hearings and also dealing with cross undertakings where appropriate. She has represented clients in cases involving neglect, substance misuse, immigration issues and domestic abuse. Harriet also represents applicants and respondents in financial remedy proceedings, including FDAs and FDRs, as well as accepting instructions in applications brought under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 and ToLATA 1996.

Harriet gained direct public children experience when working with volunteers in child protection where she was placed with a family with children on a child protection plan.

Read more about Harriet

“Harriet is already a skilled advocate and has developed a thriving practice during pupillage.  We are delighted to welcome her to the family team.” 
Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers

“I am delighted to join St John’s Chambers as a tenant and am very much looking forward to building my practice in all areas of family law.”
Harriet Dudbridge

If you would like to instruct Harriet, or have any questions, please contact her clerks:

Sophie Smith-Holland

Sophie successfully completed her specialist family pupillage under the supervision of Judi Evans and Andrew Commins. Sophie is building a busy practice in the following areas: Children – Private Law & Public Law, Divorce & Financial Remedies, Schedule 1 Children Act 1989, Part IV – Family Law Act 1996 (Domestic Violence) and ToLATA 1996 matters. Examples of her most recent successes at court are: obtaining an order to secure the return of a child from Scotland and proving allegations of domestic abuse, physical harm, emotional harm, sexual harassment and sexual assault after fact-finding hearings lasting several days.

Sophie worked for over 2 years in the family team of a highly respected national law firm. During this time she assisted on a variety of private and public law children matters. Consequently, she has a unique ability to view cases from the perspectives of both her professional and lay clients. She was recently awarded “highly commended” in the Bar Council’s Law Reform Essay Competition for her essay on the need for no fault divorce in England and Wales.

Read more about Sophie

“Sophie joins the department with already a considerable amount of experience in family law having worked for both a local authority and a highly regarded firm of solicitors.  Sophie’s clear and persuasive advocacy skills attracted praise from early on in her pupillage, and we have all been impressed by Sophie’s ability, and enthusiasm. We  look forward to working with her as a valued member of the team.” Judi Evans, Head of Family team, and Pupil Supervisor

“I am thrilled to have become a member of St John’s Chambers and am very much looking forward to continuing to expand my (already busy!) practice across all areas of family law.”
Sophie Smith-Holland

If you would like to instruct Sophie, or have any questions, please contact her clerks:

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.

Lucy Reed publishes a book on Transparency in the Family Courts – Publicity and Privacy in Practice

Family law barrister, Lucy Reed alongside an author team from The Transparency Project have written a book titled ‘Transparency in the Family Courts – Publicity and Privacy in Practice‘, printed by Bloomsbury Professional. The foreword is written by Sir Andrew McFarlane, the incoming President of the Family Division, and is essential reading for family law practitioners in private practice, local authorities and other public bodies, as well as media lawyers, journalists and social workers.

Transparency in the Family Courts Publicity and Privacy in Practice clarifies what transparency means in practice for professionals and families involved in the family courts, and provides guidance on privacy in family law cases and their reporting in the media. This new title provides full coverage of the implications of the 2014 Guidance on publication of judgments and much more.

“With the publication of this work, there will be no need to look elsewhere for an account of the law relating to transparency in family proceedings and this will rapidly become the ‘ go-to ’ book on the subject, not just because it is the only one but because of the comprehensive, clear and insightful nature of its coverage.”
Sir Andrew McFarlane

The team of authors include Julie Doughty, a Lecturer in Law in the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University, and Paul Magrath, a Barrister with the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.

Lucy ReedLucy will be speaking at the ‘Bloomsbury Professional Family Law Conference’ on 16th May 2018 at Gray’s Inn on ‘Transparency – why it matters, what it means’.
To book your place visit this page.

Lucy is also the author of The Family Court without a Lawyer – A Handbook for litigants in person (Bath Publishing, 3rd Edition 2017) and the award-winning ‘Pink Tape’ blog, and the Chair of The Transparency Project.

  • Order your copy of the book and receive 15% discount here
  • Read the foreword Andrew McFarlane here.
  • Book your place at the Bloomsbury Professional Family Law Conference here.  

St John’s Chambers Pupils available for work

St John’s Chambers is pleased to announce that our current pupils will shortly be entering their “2nd six”, they will be available for instruction to provide assistance with advocacy and paperwork on and from the 3 April.

Our pupils are:

Annie Sampson (Call 2015) | Commercial & Chancery 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Smith-Holland (Call 2015) | Family

 

 

 

 

 

Harriet Dudbridge (Call 2015) | Family

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Lindfield (Call 2017) | Personal Injury

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to know more or would like to instruct our pupil barristers, please contact the relevant clerks:

  • | 0117 923 4740
  • | 0117 923 4720
  • | 0117 923 4730

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.

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