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 2018-2019′ 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.

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:

The latest edition of the Denton Resource incorporating the most relevant and recent cases is now available to download

Personal injury barrister Rachel Segal has updated the latest edition of the Denton Resource which charts judgments on relief from sanctions following the Court of Appeal’s decision in Denton v White [2014] EWCA Civ 906.

This resource summarises, in at-a-glance format, over 150 post-Denton cases. It will be of interest to practitioners in all fields of civil litigation dealing with applications where the three-stage Denton approach is to be applied, and is intended to help the reader decide whether to investigate the full judgment.

The resource provides a brief summary of:

  • post-Denton cases addressing relief from sanctions;
  • the relevant default;
  • the court’s approach to each of the three stages as appropriate and
  • the outcome.

Download: Denton Resource September 2018

Rachel practises in personal injury law (including clinical negligence) and accepts instructions on relief from sanctions applications and other procedural matters in other disciplines. Read more. 

If you would like to instruct Rachel on a related matter, please contact her clerks:  or call 0117 923 4730.

Court of Appeal hands down judgment in the case of Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited

James MarwickJames Marwick, personal injury barrister, provides a case law update in the judgment handed down today in the Court of Appeal in the case of Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1654.

This was a leapfrog appeal from the judgment of Regional Costs Judge Hale on a fundamental question under the QOWCS regime, namely the entitlement of a defendant to enforce an adverse costs order against damages recovered by a claimant from a co-defendant.

The Court of Appeal’s decision has important ramifications for the approach to multiple defendant litigation in personal injury proceedings.

The Court of Appeal has now held that a co-defendant can take advantage of sums paid to a claimant by another co-defendant on a proper construction of CPR44.14(1).

In fairly striking terms, Lord Justice Coulson considered that any other result would give a claimant carte blanche to commence proceedings against as many defendants as he or she likes, requiring those defendants to run up large bills whilst remaining safe in the knowledge that if the claim failed against one of those defendants, he or she will incur no costs liability.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeal found that the Costs Judge was right to conclude that a defendant could enforce its costs order out of damages and interest recovered from another defendant (up to the limit of the order for damages).

The Court of Appeal did, however, also find that the defendants in the present case (a multi-party NIHL case which had been resolved by a Tomlin order) were stymied because the sums payable pursuant to a schedule of a Tomlin order were not sums within the meaning of CPR44.14(1).

Lord Justice Coulson did reference in his judgment that the circumstances of cross-enforceability he was considering were those where a Bullock or Sanderson order was inappropriate and thus where a defendant had been freely sued.   On first impressions, there will have to be a renewed focus (as there was pre-QOWCS) on the underlying merits and reasons for pursuing multiple defendants before embarking on multi-party litigation.

View judgment: Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1654

View profile: James Marwick

Great Boules of Fire | St John’s Chambers win the Bath Boules tournament on Saturday, 16 June 2018!

Earlier this summer members of our personal injury team took part in the annual Bath Boules tournament on 16 June in Queen Square, Bath. The event sees over 64 teams compete in a number of heats with two finalists boule’ing it out for the coveted trophy.

This year we are proud to announce that our team of four, from left to right as pictured in the above photograph: Head of Personal Injury, Glyn Edwards, James Marwick, Richard Stead and James Hughes won the tournament!

St John’s Chambers have been a ‘Little Boules Sponsor’ for five years, and each year we have taken part in the tournament, so we are delighted to have finally won. The annual event hosted in Bath raises money for local charities via the Bath Boules Trust, last year the event raised over £50,000 and we are hoping that this total has increased with this year’s event.

Thanks to all who attended, donated and took part and made this year’s event one not to forget!

Andrew McLaughlin successfully defended a claim for £1.4m brought by Nicola Ward, a former Sergeant and nurse in the RAF

Andrew McLaughlin, who has been reappointed by the Attorney General to the Government A Panel of Counsel, has successfully defended a claim for £1.4m brought by Nicola Ward, a former Sergeant and nurse in the RAF, against the Ministry of Defence for devastating psychiatric injury allegedly caused by bullying and harassment at work between 2013 and 2015.

The Claimant was represented at trial by Mark Evans QC (Clerksroom) and Alex Fletcher (218 Strand) and for the previous three years by Jonathan Dingle (218 Strand). The case was listed for nine days at Oxford Combined Court Centre before the Designated Civil Judge HHJ Melissa Clarke.

Twelve witnesses were called by the Claimant, six by the Defendant. The Claimant alleged she had been unfairly upbraided by her senior commanding officer at the medical centre on base, was subjected by him to a campaign of discriminatory conduct, was excluded from the chain of command and the management team at the medical centre, stripped of Acting Flight Sergeant rank and the pay that came with it, humiliated in front of the nursing department, downgraded on a reference for promotion, and was then stalked after going off sick.

The Claimant and her witnesses were cross-examined by Andrew over four days before the defence witnesses were called. At the end of the witnesses’ evidence on day 6 the Judge decided to rule on liability before the medical experts and employment consultants were due to be heard. HHJ Melissa Clarke rejected the entirety of the Claimant’s allegations. She found the Claimant was neither bullied nor harassed. She held that the alleged stalking did not happen. The claim was dismissed with costs.

Andrew has been involved in a string of high-value stress-at-work, bullying and harassment claims which he has resisted successfully at trial, some of which are available on Lawtel.

If you would like to instruct Andrew on any related matter, please contact .

Recovering damages for ‘lost years’ | Latest Article by David Regan

Personal injury and clinical negligence barrister, David Regan, has written an article for the New Law Journal titled ‘Losing out on the lost years’ in the 11 May 2018 issue.

The article reviews the developing law on claims for earnings for lost years, and the likelihood that the Supreme Court would allow children to make such claims.  This would have a significant impact on all claims for children whose lives are shortened by negligence.

The full article has been published today in the New Law Journal within their ‘Damages’ Legal Update section.

To view the full article please click here

View profile: David Regan

“St John’s Chambers maintains an excellent reputation at the Personal Injury Bar, being home to a number of the foremost barristers in the space. Members act for both claimants and defendants in a wide array of claims, relating to such matters as RTAs, workplace accidents and occupational disease.” Chambers UK, Personal Injury (2018)

“Excellent afternoon! Very lively and interesting!” The Essential Toolkit for Junior Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Lawyers

Earlier this week our junior personal injury and clinical negligence team ran their ‘The Essential Toolkit for Junior Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Lawyers’ seminar for the second year running. The event, as last year, sold out in a matter of weeks so we shall be looking to run a similar event again later on this year.

Working from the delegate feedback at our previous events last year, this year saw the addition of longer parallel workshops and a “fast paced head line delivery” style first plenary session. In addition to our speakers: Marcus Coates-Walker, Ben Handy, James Marwick, Jimmy Barber, James Hughes & Robert Mills, we also welcomed our new personal injury and clinical negligence tenant, Rachel Segal, to the mix of speakers alongside our Head of Clinical Negligence, Vanessa McKinlay, who kindly chaired the event.

Talks from the day included a very popular ‘mock CCMC performance’ from Ben Handy (HHJ Handy); James Marwick (for the defendant) and James Hughes (for the claimant) which was described by delegates as a “very helpful demonstration” and “very entertaining, useful to see role play of hearing”. Other sessions included: Are the courts re-defining the scope of the duty of care in clinical negligence?; A roundup of important decisions in 2017/2018: road traffic accidents, employers’ liability and public liability; Part 35 and Part 18 questions: when and what to ask and when to answer; A roundup of important decisions in 2017/2018: clinical negligence; A workshop on fatal accident act claims and the final plenary: Part 36: tactics, pitfalls and the dark arts.

Delegates gave excellent feedback with comments such as:

  • “These sessions are great for junior lawyers & pitched at right level.”
  • “Informative day and the choice of topics were all highly relevant and useful. Great, charismatic speakers, enjoyed the day.”
  • “Very enjoyable session – well-presented and highly beneficial.”

To follow live tweets from the day search #Essentialtoolkit18 on Twitter.

If you missed this event be sure to put you name down on our waiting list for the next one by contacting Anita Young on or 0117 923 4770.

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 raise £930 for The Coroners’ Courts Support Service

Following the success of our ‘Inquests and The Coroners’ Courts Support Service Seminar’ sponsored by Renvilles last December, we are pleased to announce that a grand total of £930 was raised for the charity, an independent voluntary organisation whose trained volunteers offer emotional support and practical help to bereaved families, witnesses and others attending an Inquest at a Coroner’s Court. Beverley Radcliffe, CCSS Director says “That’s fantastic and once again, thank you for organising and hosting the event – we really did appreciate it.

The event provided a personal insight into the support service from members of the CCSS and an overview of recent legal development in the field. Our Complex & Serious Inquest Team is the only one on the Western Circuit to be recommended in Legal 500, with both speakers, Tom Leeper and Emma Zeb, also being recognised as Leading Juniors. The Team often represents bereaved families, as well as government departments and agencies, such as the MOD, MOJ, and health authorities, in lengthy and complex inquests, that attract considerable media coverage. The Team is renowned for both technical expertise and great advocacy skills in what are inevitably highly sensitive and emotive proceedings.

Guest speakers included our seminar Chair, HM Senior Coroner for the Area of Avon, Maria Voisin; Roey Burden, OBE, Beverley Radcliffe and Margaret Briggs of The Coroners’ Courts Support Service; Mike Bird, Enable Law; Mike Renville, Renvilles and Lisa O’Dwyer of AvMA.

The seminar received excellent feedback with comments such as:

Excellent content, useful to gain understanding of the role of the CCSS and helpful updates.”

Informative and comprehensive seminar, thank you.”

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