Andrew McLaughlin & Jimmy Barber successful in the Court of Appeal in Stewart v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust 
Andrew McLaughlin and Jimmy Barber, Members of St John’s Chambers Personal Injury Team, were instructed by Cindy Tsang, partner at Kennedys LLP, to represent the successful Respondent, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in the case of Stewart v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 2091.
Summary: The Appellant, Mrs Stewart, was a community midwife who injured her back while lifting an item of work equipment provided to her by the Defendant Trust. The item was a plastic carry case or box containing an oxygen cylinder and paraphernalia needed at home births. Mrs Stewart alleged breaches by the Defendant of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992 and of its common law duty of care. The focus of the allegations was the Trust’s failure to carry out a risk assessment.
At first instance, the judge accepted the Trust’s argument that there was no need to carry out a risk assessment on the box, which had been in use by community midwives for many years, without complaints or evidence it had caused any problems. He held that the Trust was entitled to rely on the lifting and lowering risk filter in Appendix 3 of the HSE Guidelines on the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. Applying this filter, the judge found that the box, which weighed around 7.5kg to 8kg and would ordinarily be lifted by its handle from mid-lower leg height, did not require a detailed risk assessment. He did not accept the Claimant’s argument that because she had ‘scooped’ the box directly from the floor using two hands rather than by picking it up by the purpose-built handle, the lowest filter zone of 7kg was applicable. The judge found that the real reason for the Claimant’s injury in lifting the box was that she had a latent pre-existing degenerative back condition and that the action would not have been unsafe for any normal person.
In the appeal, it was submitted on behalf of the Appellant inter alia that the judge had misdirected himself as to which party bore the burden of proof of proving whether a risk assessment had been undertaken, and that he was wrong to hold that a risk assessment was unnecessary. The Respondent argued that these grounds were misconceived because the judge had not been satisfied there was a ‘real risk’ of injury from the box, citing Koonjul v Thameslink Healthcare Services  PIQR P123.
Giving the lead judgment, Hamblen LJ agreed with the Respondent that on a proper analysis the judge below had found there was no real risk of injury, and that this was a factual conclusion that he was entitled to reach on the evidence and with which the court should not interfere. The Court of Appeal endorsed the judge’s approach of taking the manner in which employees would ordinarily carry out the manual handling operation (i.e. by lifting the box by its handle, rather than by scooping it off the floor) and applying an intermediate weight where the hands were close to a boundary between the zones on the filter, i.e. here between 7kg and 13kg. The appeal was dismissed.
The appeal judgment is a useful reminder that the first stage in manual handling claims is always to consider if there is a ‘real risk’ of injury, which is the claimant’s burden of proof. The lifting and lowering risk filter in Appendix 3 of the HSE Guidelines is a helpful tool in establishing whether or not a manual handling operation carried out in its ordinary fashion requires a more detailed assessment. Only if the operation gives rise to a real risk of injury do the various duties under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 come into play.
View the full judgment here: Stewart v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 2091
To instruct Andrew or Jimmy on a related matter please contact their clerks: | 0117 923 4730
Chambers’ is delighted to announce the success of our Public and Admin Law Practice Group having achieved either Band 1 or Band 2 rankings within the Chambers UK Bar 2018 guide for the Western Circuit.
Within our Agriculture & Rural Affairs team; Leslie Blohm QC achieved a Band 1 ranking within this area of law. “My first port of call for any complex agricultural or rural property matters. I trust his expertise, level-headedness and ability to whittle down the issues” Chambers UK, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (2018)
Christopher Jones was also ranked within the guide “Offers considered legal advice accompanied by practical and pragmatic suggestions.” “He is calm under pressure and well able to stand his ground against considerable opposition.” Chambers UK, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (2018)
Alex Troup “a respected chancery practitioner who frequently acts for farming clients. His caseload includes proprietary estoppel matters and inheritance claims concerning agricultural property.” Chambers UK, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (2018)
Simon Morgan, member of our Healthy & Safety law practice also achieved a Band 1 ranking within the Guide and is described here by one client “Simon has an excellent track record and is extremely good with clients. He is practical and knows how to work with regulators.” Chambers UK, Health & Safety (2018)
Our Professor Roy Light, member of our Licensing law practice achieved another Band 1 ranking for the Public and Admin Law Practice Group and is said to be “An extremely able lawyer who understands the commercial reality of what the client needs.” “He demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of many areas of licensing.” “Energetic, experienced and charming.” Chambers UK, Licensing (2018)
The achievers within our Planning group were Peter Wadsley; ranked Band 1 “He has an aura about him, and is highly respected for his encyclopaedic knowledge.” “Pragmatic, experienced and approachable.” Chambers UK, Planning (2018) and David Fletcher “He can grasp difficult questions with great skill.” Chambers UK, Planning (2018)
Rob Bocock, Practice Manager comments “I’m delighted that we have been ranked in band 1 of the Leading Sets in the 2018 Chambers & Partners UK Bar for so many of our core areas – I consider this testament to the level of service and quality which we are able to provide to our clients.”
If you would like to instruct any of our public and admin barristers, please contact their clerks: | 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
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.
“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
St John’s Chambers is pleased to welcome Marcus Coates-Walker as a new member of our personal injury, clinical negligence, and inquest teams following successful completion of his pupillage this month.
During his pupillage Marcus was supervised and mentored by Emma Zeb and head of St John’s Chambers’ personal injury team, Glyn Edwards. With them he experienced an extremely broad range of cases across the entire spectrum of personal injury, clinical negligence and inquest work.
He regularly conducts cases in the County Court, including fast-track hearings, small claims hearings, MOJ Stage 3 hearings, Infant Approvals and interim applications. He has also drafted pleadings and advices in personal injury and clinical negligence cases. Marcus is also frequently asked to advise on the application and operation of the Pre-Action Protocols for low value personal injury claims in RTAs, Employer’s Liability and Public Liability cases. He has recently published an article on the potential costs issues in claims which no longer continue under the Pre-Action Protocols because contributory negligence has been alleged, which you can download http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/celexa_generic.html below. Marcus also has a strong desire to develop his clinical negligence and inquest work. He is happy to take instructions from all parties and Interested Persons.
Glyn Edwards, Head of Personal Injury Practice Group said: “Marcus Coates-Walker came to St John’s with a varied and rich background of experience that has informed his quick progress to a high level of competence as a young barrister. He has impressed all who have had dealings with him – he is thorough, pragmatic, personable, highly articulate and very energetic in his approach to all his work. He will be a very valuable addition to our growing and vibrant junior level in the personal injury team. We are confident that he has a terrific future.”
If you would like to discuss instructing Marcus, please contact his clerks on 0117 923 4730 or e-mail .
View profile: Marcus Coates-Walker
We are delighted to announce that St John’s Chambers have been awarded ‘Chambers of the Year’ at the Bristol Law Society’s Annual Awards on Thursday, 13th October. It was a very successful evening for St John’s with family barrister Lucy Reed also winning ‘Barrister of the Year’.
Attending from St John’s were Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers, Derek Jenkins, CEO, Elaine Jewell-Moore, Family Clerk, Paul Bennett, Commercial and Chancery Clerk , Alex Troup, Barrister, and their guests.
Having also won Chambers of the Year in 2015, these awards clearly identify Chambers continued commitment to the legal and wider community. Bristol Law Society’s annual awards recognise the important work in the Bristol legal community, celebrating their many successes and outstanding achievements.
Derek Jenkins, Chief Executive said: “Winning ‘Chambers of the Year’ award for two consecutive years demonstrates the excellent quality of legal services and range of expertise offered by St John’s Chambers. In the last 12 months Chambers has been involved in many landmark decisions, as well as leading initiatives designed to ensure that those who need justice are able to access it.”
Lucy Reed said “I’m proud to be part of such a vibrant legal community here in Bristol, and I recognise that the support and contribution of colleagues both in and outside of chambers has been an important part of the background to my winning this award.”
Susan Hunter Head of Chambers said “We are very proud to have won this years Chambers of the Year Award and extremely pleased that Lucy’s outstanding contribution to her profession and the wider legal community has been recognised. Well done to everyone who was shortlisted, and the other winners – what a fabulous night!”
St John’s Chambers is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for ‘Chambers of the Year’ at the Bristol Law Society’s Annual Awards 2016, being one of three sets to be nominated. This clearly identifies Chambers continued commitment to the legal profession and wider community having won this award in 2015. For men
St John’s Chambers identified by Legal 500 as an innovative set with high-quality barristers who have a collegiate approach
“St John’s Chambers is an innovative set with high-quality barristers who have a collegiate approach. The group only takes on civil matters, and, in addition to being hailed as a ‘very strong commercial set’, handles family law, personal injury and clinical negligence.” Legal 500 (2016)
To view our rankings please click here.
We are thrilled to announce that we have been recommended as a top-tier set, and listed in the eight main areas of law in the 2016 edition of The Legal 500. Three of our QCs are listed in the “Leading silks” list – a guide to outstanding silks nationwide. 12 of our barristers are recommended in the editorial, and 35 of our barristers are listed in the “Leading juniors” list – a guide to outstanding juniors nationwide.
- Leslie Blohm QC – “His calmness and gravitas puts clients at ease.” Commercial, banking, insolvency and chancery law
- Christopher Sharp QC – “An advocate of precision and strength, who gets to the heart of case.” Family and children law
- Kathryn Skellorn QC – “A master of her brief; her preparation is unmatched and she has an almost intimidating grasp of the law.” Family and children law
- Christopher Sharp QC – “An advocate of precision and strength, who gets to the heart of case.” Personal injury and clinical negligence
- Leslie Blohm QC – “His calmness and gravitas puts clients at ease.” Property
What does Legal 500 say about St John’s Chambers…
- Commercial, banking, insolvency and chancery law
An impressive range of barristers and is one of the leading sets in the region. The group is primarily known for Chancery and commercial matters, and a number of members are active in banking and insolvency cases. To view rankings click here.
- Construction, planning and environment
Chambers has a wide-ranging construction and planning practice, which also extends to related professional negligence matters. To view rankings click here.
Chambers’ employment practice is recommended for all forms of discrimination claims, where members represent employers and employees. To view rankings click here.
- Family and children law
Chambers has a strong family law team with many able barristers in financial and children cases. The group is well versed in the full range of matters and deals with complex and sensitive care cases as well as high-value financial remedy matters. Members have significant experience in the Court of Appeal. To view rankings click here.
- Personal injury and clinical negligence
With very strong counsel across all levels, St John’s handles both personal injury and clinical negligence cases. The set has seen a particular increase in industrial disease work of late, on both the claimant and defendant side. To view rankings click here
One of the leading sets in the West for property and Chancery work. To view rankings click here.
- Public law
Chambers public and administrative group has dealt with significant judicial reviews recently. To view rankings click here.
- Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing
Chambers regulatory team is home to experts in health and safety and licensing disputes. To view rankings click here.
“The administrative arm is excellent, always accessible and accommodating, and led by chief executive Derek Jenkins. Robert Bocock, Annette Bushell and Luke Hodgson are the practice managers.” Legal 500 (2016)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients for their continued support and feedback provided to Legal 500.
St John’s barristers and clerks will be walking in this year’s South West Legal Support Trust’s Bristol Legal Walk on Monday, 26th September.
The Bristol Legal Walk is a 10km sponsored walk around Bristol and the city sights to raise money for local advice services. The need for free legal advice centres has grown in the past few years. The recession has increased poverty and reduced support services. Meanwhile funding for the advice centres themselves has reduced. The South West Legal Support Trust supports organisations that prevent families being made homeless, prevent destitution, help older people gain the support to which they are entitled, and help women and children who have been trafficked for domestic servitude or prostitution.
Our barristers and clerks are walking to ensure that many of the people most in need get help who would otherwise have been denied due to the huge reduction in government and local authority funding over the past few years.
There are currently 15 teams taking part in the walk including; Avon & Bristol Law Centre, Bristol Citizens Advice, Burges Salmon LLP, Cooke Painter Ltd, Co-Operative Legal Services, DAC Beachcroft LLP, Deighton Pierce Glynn, North Bristol Advice Centre, Queen Square Chambers, Somerset Community Care Matters, St Pauls Advice Centre, Talking Money, The Personal Support Unit and TLT LLP.
To sponsor our walkers and support access to justice for vulnerable people please visit our sponsorship page by clicking here.