We are delighted to announce that St John’s Chambers were voted ‘Chambers of the Year 2018-2019′ at the Bristol Law Society Annual Awards Dinner on 11th October 2018. 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.
This award coincides with Chambers celebrating 40 years in business, and we continue to strive to be a modern and progressive set with barristers, clerks and management being the driving force behind innovative projects.
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.
St John’s Chambers is consistently recognised by independent awards for its expertise in a broad range of specialist areas of law. Our barristers and chambers are regular winners and shortlisted both locally and nationally.
Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers said: “St John’s Chambers is proud to receive this recognition of all we have achieved both in and out of court this year. We look forward to continuing to serve all who need us in Bristol and the West Country.”
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.
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 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 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 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.”
If you would like to instruct Harriet, or have any questions, please contact her clerks:
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.”
If you would like to instruct Sophie, or have any questions, please contact her clerks:
Bristol Law Society’s ‘Barrister of the Year 2017’, Natasha Dzameh, is now a member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR). Unlike many Specialist Bar Associations, admission to membership of COMBAR involves external consideration of an individual’s practice and requires approval by a COMBAR sub-committee.
Natasha has received instructions on a wide variety of commercial cases including banking and finance litigation (Bankers Trust orders, guarantees, hire agreements, indemnity claims, payment instructions etc), construction (defective works, design flaws, latent defects, retention, short measures and validity of pay less notices), company and partnership disputes, debt recovery, equine contracts involving competition level horses, intellectual property, malicious falsehood, sale of goods, supply of goods and services and technology contracts.
Natasha has dealt with consumer credit, conversion, data protection, defamation, dishonest assistance, enforceability concerns, Francovich claims, freezing orders (including worldwide freezing orders), insurance (coverage, undervaluation etc.), interim injunctions, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and wrongful interference. She is happy to apply her knowledge to specialist sectors such as sports law when required and she has an excellent understanding of carriage contracts. Natasha has been instructed by the GLD’s commercial litigation team and also accepts instructions on international commercial disputes. During pupillage she gained experience of worldwide freezing orders in relation to a US judgment for a sum in excess of $180 million.
View profile: Natasha Dzameh
If you would like to instruct Natasha on a commercial matter, please contact her clerks: or 0117 923 4740.
“The quality, range and professionalism of both solicitors and barristers in Bristol now rivals anything that other centres – including London – can offer.” Leslie Blohm QC on the new Business and Property Courts in Bristol
Leslie Blohm QC, Deputy Head of Chambers and Member of our Commercial & Chancery Team recently published an article within Lexis Nexis on ‘The Business and Property Courts in Bristol, as seen from the Bar.’ He explains to readers that the new Business and Property Courts can be viewed as a way in which to move forward and leave behind divisional differences created by litigation straddling the boundaries of being managed and tried in the same Courts.
Lord Justice Briggs notes that there are no cases too big for regional centres within the Civil Courts Structure Review further backed by Leslie who states “The regions are a pressure valve for increasing work in the system, directing more and better work out of London.” It is apparent that with the new Business and Property Courts in Bristol cases “can be dealt with more quickly, and with efficiency, with commensurate saving in time and cost.”
He maintains the view that “The quality, range and professionalism of both solicitors and barristers in Bristol now rivals anything that other centres – including London – can offer.”
Read the full article published by Lexis Nexis, January 2018 sponsored by The University of Law: The Business and Property Courts in Bristol, as seen from the Bar
If you wish to instruct Leslie on a Commercial & Chancery matter please contact his clerks on | 0117 923 4740
It is with great pleasure that we announce the achievement of Natasha Dzameh, one of our Commercial & Chancery barristers, in winning the Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017” award last night. She was lauded as an excellent lawyer and was also commended on her client service skills. Her accomplishment is demonstrative of the diligence she applies to every case and the priority with which she treats client satisfaction.
Natasha comments on last night’s success “I am delighted to have won the Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017” Award. This is a surprising and welcome result at such an early stage in my career at the Bar. The support of my colleagues in Chambers, the guidance of my clerks and the level of trust placed in me by my instructing solicitors has been essential to the quick development of my practice. I am very proud to have made a significant impact on the legal community in Bristol.”
To instruct Natasha on a Commercial & Chancery matter please contact her clerks on | 0117 923 4740
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 http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/levitra_generic.html 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
Charlie Newington Bridges wins in the Court of Appeal in Monnow Developments v Morgan  EWCA Civ 1437
Charlie Newington-Bridges of St. John’s Chambers was instructed by Neil Morgan, partner at Darwin Gray Solicitors, to represent the successful Respondent, Monnow Developments Limited.
Summary: The Appellant, Mr Morgan, borrowed £250,000 from the Respondent, Monnow Developments, a property development company. The loan was intended to allow Mr Morgan to invest £750,000 in a financial services company, Pure Options, which was an enterprise investment scheme with potential tax benefits for investors. The investment in Pure Options was also in the form of a loan, the terms of which were specified in loan notes. The terms of the loan notes included an interest rate of 8%, but interest was to be paid when cash flow allowed. Pure Options became insolvent before any interest had been paid. Mr Morgan repaid the capital borrowed from Monnow but no interest.
The issue at first instance was whether under the agreement between the Appellant and Monnow, the Appellant was legally obliged to pay interest to Monnow in circumstances where he had received no interest on his loan to Pure Options. He contended that he was not. At first instance it was held that on a proper construction of the agreement Mr Morgan was obliged to pay interest. In the alternative, the Appellant argued that the agreement as drafted failed to reflect the true intention of the parties, namely that no interest should be paid in these circumstances and should be rectified to achieve that result. This counterclaim was also rejected by the judge.
In the appeal, it was submitted on Mr Morgan’s behalf that the judge was wrong on both counts; either he ought to have http://www.eta-i.org/provigil.html construed the contract in the Appellant’s favour or, if that was not possible, he should have rectified it to achieve the result that no interest was payable. Elias LJ, giving the leading judgment, found that on the proper construction of the loan agreement between Monnow and Mr Morgan interest was payable at the rate of 8% and that the criteria for rectifying the loan agreement were not satisfied on the facts.
The appeal judgment is interesting in at least three respects. Firstly in relation to interpretation, the court was not prepared to accept arguments that strained the language of the contract and which would lead to artificial results; it placed emphasis on the interpretation that accorded with commercial reality. Secondly, the court was concerned about the use of pre-contractual negotiation documentation in the interpretation case, but nonetheless was prepared to find that certain terms in the pre-contractual negotiations could be used in the interpretation process as they reflected common usage in the background to the contract. Thirdly, on rectification, the court was focussed on the evidence of the parties and their witnesses to determine whether or not there was an outward expression of accord; finding none, it rejected the rectification argument.
View the case commentary: Monnow Developments v Morgan – Charlie Newington Bridges – Case Commentary – June 2017
Read the full article: Monnow Developments v Morgan – Charlie Newington Bridges – Article – June 2017
View Profile: Charlie Newington-Bridges
If you would like to instruct Charlie on a commercial or chancery matter, please contact his clerk on:
or 0117 923 4740
Over the festive period, Chambers will be closed from 4.00pm on Friday, 23rd December and will re-open from 10.00am until 4.00pm on Thursday 29th December through to Friday 30th December.
We will open again for normal business hours on Tuesday, 3th January 2017.
For any emergency enquiries, please see our out of hours numbers.
These updates aim to provide an invaluable resource for keeping up to date with the most important developments in contract law. In this issue Nick Pointon considers when commitment letters become binding following the Commercial Court’s decision in Novus Aviation v Alubaf, and when “close of business” takes place in the London commercial banking sector following the latest decision in the Lehman Brothers litigation. Our newest member of Chambers, Natasha Dzameh reviews several recent decisions, ranging from issues of offer and acceptance considered in Arcardis Consulting v AMEC to the recovery of damages for a loss of chance in McGill v Sports and Entertainment Media Group. Chancery and commercial pupil, Emma Price looks at the recent decision on the Brogden bankers’ claim for bonuses and considers the approach taken by the Court of Appeal to the construction of contracts.
Each case discussed will feature an “In brief…” summary panel, designed to allow those in a hurry to take the most useful points from each case. No case will occupy more than two pages of the update in total. Although authored by litigators, attempts will be made where possible to identify useful points for the non-contentious practitioner too.
Since our next instalment will be due in March 2017, we take this opportunity to wish all readers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
These updates are produced in a pdf format for you to download below:
- Contract Law Case Law Update – December 2016
- Contract Law Case Law Update – September 2016
- Contract Law Case Law Update – June 2016
“Its team of highly skilled advocates regularly act in the most prominent, high-value and heavyweight disputes in the region under the instruction of some of the biggest industry players.” Chambers UK (2017)
We are extremely grateful to our clients for providing such positive feedback which has resulted in us achieving ‘Top Ranked Set’ in the 2017 edition of Chambers UK.
41 of our barristers have been ranked across 20 major areas of law, including new rankings in the fields of competition law and Court of Protection. These new areas clearly identify St John’s as specialists in these fields with new addition Matthew O’Regan advising in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious competition law matters, and exceptional chancery barrister Alex Troup adept at handling Court of Protection work.
To find out what our clients say about our highly skilled advocates, please click on the individual areas of law links below.
Agriculture & Rural Affairs
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Court of Protection
Family / Matrimonial
Health & Safety
Real Estate Litigation
Restructuring / Insolvency
Our clerks have been described as extremely approachable, practical and will accommodate client’s needs. Commentary about our specialist teams include:
- “Acts for both claimants and an increasing number of defendants in complex and high-profile claims. The set has an impressive reach in the South West and is praised by solicitors for its established team and ‘undoubtedly good reputation”‘on the Western Circuit. Its members handle a diverse range of challenging cases including catastrophic injury, surgical error and dental negligence.” Clinical Negligence
- “St John’s has a wealth of experience in personal injury work. The set handles all manner of matters for claimants and defendants including accident at work and RTA claims. It has recently seen a sharp increase in industrial disease cases. Sources note that ‘they are very user-friendly and will always go the extra mile for you.’ ” Personal Injury
- “One of Bristol’s leading sets of chambers for company advisory and advocacy work, with its barristers obtaining regular instruction in shareholder disputes, directors’ duties and directors’ disqualification cases. The set is praised by sources for its provision of ‘commercially minded advice’ and the ‘professional and incredibly flexible’ attitude of its barristers.” Company
- “One of the leading chancery chambers on the Western Circuit, and is described as a very good set with contentious probate barristers who have very good knowledge of this area. It has a particular strength in traditional chancery, particularly complex property litigation, contentious trusts and inheritance disputes.” Chancery
- “St John’s Chambers has unmatched firepower in this area. It is the foremost specialist construction chambers on the Western Circuit, with a notable profile in the South Wales market. Its team of highly skilled advocates regularly acts in the most prominent, high-value and heavyweight disputes in the region under the instruction of some of the biggest industry players. Members of St John’s demonstrate prowess across a broad range of construction matters including claims of defects, arbitration appeals and professional negligence-related cases.” Construction & Engineering
- “Respected chambers with a growing commercial practice, praised for its consideration of practicalities such as costs and funding. One impressed interviewee states: ‘They have the feel of a heavyweight set and they are imaginative in offering solutions to help you settle a case.’ “ Commercial Dispute Resolution
- “This outstanding set houses a dedicated team of property practitioners who work across a broad spectrum of commercial and residential property matters, handling such matters as development issues and agricultural disputes. ‘I find that they just go a bit further for the client.They dig deep, try hard for the clients, are thorough and look for a solution.’ ” Property & Real Estate
- “A very strong Bristol-based team capable of representing clients across the full spectrum of family law matters. Offers a robust matrimonial finance practice and has also built up significant experience in private and public ADR proceedings. The set is also highly regarded for its forward-thinking approach to client service.” Family Law
- “St John’s Chambers fields a substantial team, covering all the main contentious and non-contentious partnership bases and offering not only litigation, but also arbitration and mediation expertise. The set is especially noted for its handling of insolvency issues and is also particularly skilled in the farming, property and technology partnership spheres.” Partnership