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
Barristers from our public and administrative law team hosted their 6th annual Local Government Law Conference on Wednesday, 12th October 2016 in Bristol. The conference addressed a number of topical issues affecting those working and practising in the field of local government.
The conference was chaired by Peter Wadsley, who has been described by Chambers UK as the number one junior on the Western Circuit for planning and environmental work. It began with Professor Roy Light considering the Policing and Crime Bill, which is currently going through Parliament which contains a number of important licensing provisions. After the break, Richard Stead addressed the potential liabilities of local authorities in nuisance claims arising from falling trees, tree root encroachment and flooding. Competition law expert Matthew O’Regan then went on to explore how authorities can ensure compliance with the EU State aid rules when funding projects or investing in commercial activities.
The afternoon session kicked off with up-and-coming planning barrister Philip Robson stepping in for Leslie Blohm QC. He discussed the position relating to deception and concealment in the planning system in light of the Court of Appeal judgment in Bonsall and Jackson  EWCA Civ 1246. Philip then went on to run a workshop with Peter Wadsley about a frequent topic of debate at planning inquiries, the issue of 5 year housing land supply and its impact on decision making. David Fletcher was next to take the stand and discussed recent developments in Judicial Review. The conference ended with our experts leading a panel discussion about the topics discussed at the conference, inviting everyone to ask questions and share views and insights.
The conference attracted planning consultants, solicitors, and over 10 local authorities from the South West, South Wales and the Midlands. Delegates described the conference as; “interesting’ and speakers with ‘excellent delivery and knowledge’.
You can download copies of some of the talks:
- Policing and Crime Bill
- State aid issues in publicly funded projects
- The development plan and material considerations
- Recent developments in Judicial Review
- Falling trees, tree roots and flooding
To find out more about our public and administrative law team, click here.
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 http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ambien/ 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 http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/clomid/ 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.
Philip Robson a member of our planning team, analyses an important High Court ruling on the operation of paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in his latest article published by the Local Government Lawyer.
In the NPPF world, anyone involved in planning appeals on housing development will be very familiar with the parts of the framework dealing with the consequences of a council not having a 5-year supply of housing land.
For developers, this means meticulously going through the council’s objectively assessed need, examining the minutiae of each consideration with the aim of increasing need. Turning to look at each site the council claim to be available and suitable for development now, aiming to reduce the number of sites. For councils, the opposite is true. This has become the new reality of a sizeable number of housing appeals.
Understandably, more and more time is being taken at inquiries with increasingly forensic and technical evidence because both parties are well aware of the consequences of proving or dis-proving a 5-year housing land supply. The consequences of paragraph 14 of the Framework loom large over these debates.
That paragraph changes the usual planning balance of harms against benefits to “where the development is absent, silent or relevant policies are out-of-date, granting planning permission unless: any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole; or specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted”. Under this paragraph the harms of a development have to “significantly and demonstrably” outweigh the benefits if development is to be refused.
Attached to the second sub-bullet point above (“specific policies…”) is footnote 9, which sets out a non-exhaustive list of policies to be included. Is this the Crown Jewels footnote, a means of getting off the hook of the “significantly and demonstrably” test?
The answer is, sort of.
How footnote 9 affects the operation of paragraph 14 was the subject of the recent judgment in Forest of Dean DC v SOSCLG & Anr  EWHC 421 (Admin). Briefly, paragraph 14 was engaged and the parties accepted that the proposed development caused less than substantial harm to a heritage asset, therefore paragraph 134 was in play.
The first question for Mr Justice Coulson was – is NPPF paragraph 134 included in footnote 9 as part of the “policies relating to…designated heritage assets” and therefore a specific policy indicating development should be restricted in the terms of paragraph 14?
His unequivocal answer, accepting the approach of the Forest of Dean, was yes. The default setting of the Framework is the presumption in favour of sustainable development, Framework 134 is an example where this presumption does not apply unfettered and therefore it amounts to a restriction. Secondly, paragraph 14 refers to ‘restrictions’ rather than ‘refusal’, and so it is given a wide meaning. Thirdly, that if the only policy on heritage coasts (paragraph 114) is included in footnote 9 and is therefore a restriction, despite being in less onerous terms than paragraph 134, then paragraph 134 must also be a restriction as it is more onerous than paragraph 114. Fourthly, the Framework in the footnote does not distinguish the other policies on designated heritage assets (e.g. paragraph 133) and therefore the court should not do so.
The second question was whether one should import the significantly and demonstrably test into the words of paragraph 134. This was roundly rejected as not representing the words of the policy itself.
Finally, how does one go about making a decision where both NPPF 14 and a policy in footnote 9 are in play? The approach of Coulson J, which is arguably obiter, taking the lead from the Secretary of States, was to start by breaking down the paragraph into limbs 1 and 2. Limb 1 being the “significantly and demonstrably” test; and limb 2 as the “specific policies…” and footnote 9. A decision maker must first apply limb 2 and consider whether a policy included in footnote 9 is engaged under the second sub-bullet point (specific policies….). If the proposed development meets the test in the specific policy, then one goes to the “significantly and demonstrably” test in limb 2. If the proposed development fails the test in the specific policy, then the application should be refused – as seen in the Secretary of State’s called-in decision in Keele University (APP/p3420/A/14/2219380). There is no need to move on to limb 1.
This means that, where one has less than substantial harm to a heritage asset, unless the harm to the asset outweighs all of the benefits of the proposal, then one moves to the “significantly and demonstrably” test. This may seem to be unlikely, but not impossible, and it does give councils a glimmer of hope – particularly given the judgments in Barnwell Manor and Forge Field.
If one of the other policies in footnote 9 is engaged, that have more restrictive wording (other than heritage coasts), then councils may have more than just a glimmer of hope in being able to refuse unsustainable housing development when they don’t have a 5-year supply of land.
Is this the end of the matter? I think not. As stated above, the approach of Coulson J to the operation of paragraph 14 and footnote is arguably obiter as he was not invited to decide this – recognised in his comments at paragraph 46 of his judgment. It is possible to see arguments being constructed that his interpretation is not correct – why is the word “or” included between the first and second sub-bullet points?; does Coulson J’s approach really reflect the way in which the policy is drafted?; does this approach reflect the objectives of the NPPF to protect significant historical and environmental assets?. The second issue that is likely to arise at some point is, because footnote 9 is not an exhaustive list, what other policies might be included.
Overall, this judgment provides some clarity on a familiar policy, however I don’t think this will be the last we see of this in the courts.
Philip will be speaking at our Local Government Law Conference on the 12th October at The Mercure Holland House Hotel, Bristol. For further information and to book your place click here.
If you would like to instruct Philip on a related matter please contact his clerks via email