News


Transparency in the Family Courts

Member of our Family Team, Lucy Reed, has recently published an article for Bloomsbury Law Online titled ‘Lucy Reed on Transparency in the Family Courts’. The article looks at why transparency is important and why attempts by local authorities to manage reputations can be counterproductive. In addition to her online publication Lucy has also co-authored a new book ‘Transparency in the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy in Practice’ which is available from Bloomsbury. She will also be co-presenting a talk on Transparency in Chambers this summer, as part of our free family training session series.

Please contact her clerks  | 0117 923 4720

 

High praise for St John’s Family Team after another successful training event on Civil Remedies in Family Proceedings

Thank you so much St John’s for always delivering wonderful informative, honest and topical CPD.

Earlier this week, St John’s Chambers Family Team hosted the second in the series of their free training events; Civil Remedies in Family Proceedings. The event saw Asha Pearce-Groves and Julia Belyavin present talks on ‘A practical guide to Human Rights Act claims in family proceedings’ and ‘Financial remedies in children proceedings’. Delegates gave great feedback with comments such as “Very clear and while a gloomy topic, delivered with humour and hope.

The next event in our series will be on Thursday, 17 May 2018 from 5 pm – 6 pm, titled; Vulnerable Witnesses. You can follow the new series of training events and book your place in the next few weeks via Twitter, searching the hashtag #SJCfamily18 or via our website by clicking here.

“This highly regarded set offers an impressive group of family barristers with a fine track record in an array of complex disputes. Members are frequently instructed in financial remedy cases involving international assets for married and unmarried couples. The set also remains a strong choice for private law children proceedings and jurisdictional disputes in relation to private law children.” Chambers UK, Family/Matrimonial (2018)

St John’s Chambers congratulates Kathryn Skellorn QC & Emma Zeb on their appointment as Recorders

We are delighted to announce that our members Kathryn Skellorn QC and Emma Zeb have each been appointed to sit as a Recorder by the Judicial Office. The appointments will take effect from 4 April 2018

Kathryn and Emma have been deployed to sit on the Western Circuit.

Head of Chambers, Susan Hunter says “I am delighted to hear that Kathryn and Emma have been appointed as Recorders and I have no doubt they will show the same talent and commitment to the service of the wider public as they do in their practices.”

This year’s appointments sees a total of 133 Recorders appointed. A full list of the 2018 Recorder appointments along with their circuit allocation and deployment can be viewed by clicking here.

Kathryn Skellorn’s CV can be found here.

Emma Zeb’s CV can be found here.

Congratulations once again to both Kathryn and Emma

St John’s Chambers is presented with ‘Regional Set of the Year 2018’ award at Legal 500 UK Bar Awards

Chief Executive Derek Jenkins and Rob Bocock, Practice Manager at St John’s  Chambers attended the Legal 500 UK Bar 2018 Awards ceremony at The Royal Exchange in London on 22nd February to collect our prestigious award for ‘Regional Set of the Year’.

Derek JenkinsEach year Legal 500 carry out in-depth research across the whole of the UK legal sector to identify the best sets out there, and this award clearly recognises St John’s as a stand out national set.

Thank you to all of our referees for their on-going 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 delighted to announce Circuit Judge appointment of Susan Jacklin QC

Susan JacklinWe are delighted to announce that Susan Jacklin QC, Associate Member of our Family Practice Group, has been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to be a Circuit Judge to the South Eastern Circuit, based at West London County Court with effect from 12 March 2018.

Susan has specialised in family law for 20 years; called to the Bar in 1980; took Silk in 2006 and was appointed as a Recorder in 1999. She has vast experience of dealing with a wide range of people and cases, not just on the Western Circuit but in South Wales, London and Birmingham. Her practice includes the full range of family finance work and children. In private law disputes she is able to advise and represent clients on finance and children issues.  Clients value the continuity of relationship between the two forms of dispute.

We congratulate Her Honour Judge Jacklin QC on such an amazing achievement and wish her all the best in her new appointment.

St John’s Chambers Family Team host the first in their series of free training events

Yesterday; Lucy Reed and Iain Large, Members of our Family Team, hosted the first event of the year in a new series of free CPD accredited training events. The sessions will run for one hour involving two talks in the afternoon and will cover current issues in family and children law. Our January session titled; ‘Teenagers: secure accommodation, deprivation of liberty and the inherent jurisdiction’ included two talks titled: Issues around secure accommodation and Identifying and managing deprivations of liberty in children cases. Delegates gave excellent feedback with comments such as “Very enjoyable and interesting, very good speakers.”

The next event in our series will be on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 from 5 pm – 6 pm, titled; Civil Remedies in Family Proceedings. The session is primarily aimed at care practitioners and will address the two avenues of applying for financial compensation: negligence (following the recent Court of Appeal decision in CN & Anor v Poole Borough Council [2017] EWCA Civ 2185) and via the Human Rights Act 1998. There will be a detailed consideration of the law relating to Human Rights Act claims and a discussion regarding procedure and potential cost consequences following the controversial High Court decisions in 2017.

You can follow the new series of training events and book your place in the next few weeks via Twitter searching the hashtag #SJCfamily18 or via our website by clicking here.

“This highly regarded set offers an impressive group of family barristers with a fine track record in an array of complex disputes. Members are frequently instructed in financial remedy cases involving international assets for married and unmarried couples. The set also remains a strong choice for private law children proceedings and jurisdictional disputes in relation to private law children.” Chambers UK, Family/Matrimonial (2018)

Sophie Smith-Holland wins award for Bar Council’s Law Reform Essay Competition 2017

Sophie Smith-Holland, pupil barrister within our Family Practice Group, has won the “Highly Commended” £500 prize for the Bar Council’s Law Reform Essay Competition 2017. Entrants were asked to submit an essay no longer than 3000 words identifying and making a case for a law reform that is desirable, practical and useful. The winning essay titled “It’s not you… and it’s not me, either”: The case for no-fault divorce in England and Wales” will be published on the Bar Council’s website shortly, following her success Sophie will be attending the Law Reform Lecture in London to collect the award on the 15 December 2017.

The Bar Council’s Law Reform Essay Competition is an annual event aimed at developing and fostering an interest in law reform in pupils, law students, CPE/GDL students, BPTC students and those aiming for a career at the Bar.The Bar Council 2017

Many congratulations to Sophie on this achievement

St John’s Chambers welcomes Family Law and Court of Protection barrister Caroline Elford

Called to the bar in 2002 Caroline Elford joins St John’s Chambers’ Family Practice Group from Queen Square, Bristol.

Caroline is a specialist family practitioner who practises in all areas of family law with a strong emphasis on care proceedings and a special interest in matters of family finance. Her practice in this area has given her a detailed knowledge of the appropriate procedural law and she is known for her effectiveness as an advocate and a lawyer in technical applications. She also takes instructions in respect of Court of Protection matters.

Judi Evans, Head of the Family Practice Group said: “We are delighted to welcome Caroline to St John’s Chambers. Caroline adds further strength and depth to our Family Team and will ensure we can continue to offer our clients fantastic cover at all levels – she is well known and highly experienced, and has proved herself to be popular with instructing solicitors and lay clients alike.”

If you would like to discuss instructing Caroline, please contact her clerks on 0117 923 4720 or email

View profile: Caroline Elford

St John’s Chambers Family Practice achieves a Band 1 ranking as a set for the Western Circuit in Chambers and Partners UK 2018

St John’s Chambers Children and Finance team is said to be a highly regarded set which offers an impressive group of family barristers with a fine track record in an array of complex disputes. Our Members are frequently instructed in financial remedy cases involving international assets for married and unmarried couples. The set also remains a strong choice for private law children proceedings and jurisdictional disputes in relation to private law children. One satisfied instructing solicitor states: “They are a strong chambers with some very robust, heavyweight individuals, and an excellent reputation, both in relation to finance and children work.”

Our two family silks, Christopher Sharp QC and Kathryn Skellorn QC have been recognised within the Chambers and Partners UK 2018 guide, Christopher, ranked as a ‘Star Individual’ “is worthy of every accolade as he has superb client handling skills and a second-to-none intellect. “His attention to detail and grasp of information in a case is second to none. His ability to forensically dissect the most complicated finance case and present it in a clear and persuasive way is to be marvelled at.” 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.

With Kathryn Skellorn, achieving a Band 3 rankings and described as “She is just the full package: she is exceptionally bright, she has a very good demeanour with clients, and her advocacy is very persuasive.” “Her forensic approach to cases is seriously impressive.” Kathryn specialises in handling complicated children work in both a public and a private context. Her cases frequently concern highly sensitive and difficult issues, as well as complex medical elements. A number of them concern brain trauma, torture, sexual abuse and child death. She also regularly handles disputes regarding surrogacy and same-sex parenthood.

One of our juniors, Jack Harris has been noted as an ‘Up and Coming’ individual who is highlighted for his strong work in family finance. “He is hot on the button, presents well to clients and gets great results.”

In addition, a number of our juniors within the family practice team have been equally successful in the public law, private law and finance spheres; Nick Miller, senior junior whose practice at the Bar is bolstered by his ten years’ previous experience as a solicitor has been ranked as a Band 1 junior. Andrew Commins, known for representing high net worth clients on significant matrimonial finance issues, and experience at handling cases involving pensions, companies and trusts and Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers, who focuses her practice on financial remedy issues and is especially skilled at advising on cases involving third-party interests, whilst also acting for clients in private children cases have both been listed as Band 2 juniors.

Six more of our juniors have also been ranked within family/matrimonial in the Chambers and Partners UK 2018 guide; Jody Atkinson focuses his practice on matrimonial finance issues, and is skilled at taking on inheritance and probate cases, whilst being active in matters related to child support. In public and private law; Catriona Duthie, practises across the full spectrum of family law matters, and is best known for her work acting for clients in private and public children law matters. Judi Evans, who heads up the family practice group, enjoys a solid reputation for her work in the public sphere including care, particularly on non-accidental injury cases. Richard Norman acts in a wide variety of family law matters, including those concerning financial remedies following relationship breakdowns and complicated private children cases. Lucy Reed specialises in children work, and is able to act for clients on a wide variety of public and private cases. She regularly advises on matters involving challenging or vulnerable parties, such as parents with substance abuse or mental health issues, and children with disabilities and learning difficulties. Zoë Saunders is best known for her work on cohabitation disputes, including TOLATA and Schedule 1 applications. She is also skilled at taking on matrimonial finance litigation, handling cases concerning pension, insolvency and land issues.

If you would like to instruct any of our family barristers, please contact their clerks: or 0117 923 4720

Pupil barrister Harriet Dudbridge interviewed by Legal Voice

Pupil barrister, Harriet Dudbridge has recently joined our Family team as a Justice First Fellow after spending the first year of the fellowship with the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The publication Legal Voice has interviewed Harriet documenting what attracted her to the Justice First Fellowship and her experience so far.

For the full article please click here

View profile: Harriet Dudbridge 

If you would like to instruct Harriet, please contact her clerks:  StjohnsChambersFamilyClerks@stjohnschambers.co.uk or 0117 923 4720

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