News


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

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

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

Thank you to all of our referees for their on-going support, without you this achievement would not have been possible. To view the full results please click here.

Our CEO, Derek Jenkins adds, “We are delighted to have won this prestigious national award which reflects the great work St John’s has achieved and recognises Chambers’ as a leading set.”

When to distribute | Latest article from Natasha Dzameh in the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal

Commercial and chancery barrister Natasha Dzameh, a member of our Wills, Trusts and Tax Team, has recently written an article concerning the 2017 case of Gregory & Wilkins v Ziuzina, Pring & Pring heard in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division at the Rolls Building. Natasha was instructed as junior to Leslie Blohm QC. They represented the Second and Third Defendants (family members of the deceased and beneficiaries under the intestacy rules) who provided permission for this article to be written due to the ongoing status of the litigation.

This case concerns an allegation that a British millionaire was unlawfully killed in the Ukraine such that the forfeiture rule should be invoked to deprive a beneficiary who would otherwise profit under the intestacy rules. This hearing addressed the interaction between civil proceedings and a pending inquest insofar as case management is concerned.

Natasha’s article outlines the decision reached and briefly considers the impact of this case for practitioners who find themselves in the unusual situation of acting in civil proceedings where an inquest is pending. This article was first published in the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal (March 2018) and is available at lawjournals.co.uk.

For the full article please see the link below.

Read the full article: When to distribute

View profile: Natasha Dzameh

If you would like to instruct Natasha on a commercial or chancery 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 QCLeslie 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

Natasha Dzameh Winner of Barrister of the Year 2017

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

Matthew White advises on the creation of highways by express dedication

St John’s Chambers Barrister, Matthew White has been asked to advise The Trails Trust on the creation of highways by securing the express dedication of the landowner.

The Trails Trust is a charity with an interest in the development of a network of highways (typically bridleways) across England and Wales. The Trust has asked Matthew to publish the advice online and it can be found here. It covers what a highway is (including its essential characteristics), and how to determine whether a right of way exists (looking at dedication and acceptance).

Matthew will be speaking on the issues covered in the advice at the Institute of Public Rights of Way Conference on 17 October 2017.

If you would like to instruct Matthew on a related matter, please contact his clerks on 0117 923 4730 or e-mail  .

View CV: Matthew White

Natasha Dzameh successful in an application for permission to appeal and an appeal regarding a service charge dispute

Natasha Dzameh, a commercial and chancery barrister, was instructed by Lucy Mills at Gregg Latchams Limited. She was recently successful in a rolled up hearing of her client’s application for permission to appeal and the appeal before His Honour Judge Denyer QC.

Natasha was instructed to represent a non-resident tenant (“the Non-Resident Tenant”) of the landlord management company (“the Management Company”) who was also a director of said company with several other individuals. The Management Company was the freehold owner of a property which was comprised of several flats (“the Property”). The Non-Resident Tenant had a long lease in respect of one of the flats as did each of the other directors. He had his own sub-tenants but the headlease required him to pay 17% of the Main Building Expenditure and 19% of the Internal Building Expenditure. A directors’ meeting occurred (“the Meeting”) at which the prospect of works to the Property was discussed. Following the Meeting the Non-Resident Tenant received an invoice for his share of works to the front and rear of the Property. He contended that not all of these works had been discussed and agreed upon at the Meeting. In any event as he had not received written notice of the works he argued his liability was limited to £250 in accordance with section 20(3) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003 (“the 2003 Regulations”).

The Management Company instructed debt collectors and sought to pursue the Non-Resident Tenant for the full amount invoiced. Instead of applying to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a determination as to whether the service charge was payable, the Management Company issued proceedings in the County Court at Bristol to recover the remaining amount of the invoiced sum as a debt.

The principal concerns at first instance were whether the relevant works had been discussed at the Meeting and whether the Management Company had complied with the consultation process detailed in Part 2 of Schedule 4 of the 2003 Regulations. The judge at first instance determined that the works had been discussed at the Meeting and that the Management Company had probably sent minutes of the Meeting to the Non-Resident Tenant. The judge also considered that there was no requirement for the written notice to be in any particular form and so held the Non-Resident Tenant liable for the full sum invoiced along with the Management Company’s costs.

Gregg Latchams Limited applied for permission to appeal on paper but this was refused. Natasha was instructed to represent the Non-Resident tenant at the oral hearing on permission to appeal with the appeal to follow. The application for permission to appeal and the appeal centered on the following points:
1. The learned judge committed an error of fact in his finding that the Appellant was sent a copy of the draft minutes of the Meeting;
2. The learned judge committed an error of law in his interpretation of the 2003 Regulations; and
3. Serious procedural irregularity.

The Respondent did not cross-appeal yet sought to take issue with the idea that it should comply with the 2003 Regulations. Nonetheless it advanced a contradictory position by also asserting that the judge at first instance could not be challenged. Further, in the hearing, it questioned whether the Non-Resident Tenant was a tenant of the Management Company given he was also a director. It sought to maintain the position that the Non-Resident Tenant had always known about the works and so should pay the sum invoiced.

Natasha submitted that the trial judge’s finding of fact was inconsistent with the witness evidence of both parties and he should have arrived at a determination that no written notice was sent. Alternatively, if it were the case that written notice was sent, said notice did not comply with Part 2 of Schedule 4 of the 2003 Regulations and the judge at first instance had been incorrect to say there was no requirement for the written notice to be in any particular form. In either circumstance the Non-Resident Tenant’s liability would be limited to £250 in accordance with Regulation 6 of the 2003 Regulations and section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

As to whether the Non-Resident Tenant was in fact a tenant of the Management Company, Natasha relied on the case of Leaseholders of Foundling Court and O’Donnell Court v Mayor and Burgess of the London Borough of Camden and others [2016] UKUT 366 (LC) which confirms that an intermediate landlord is the tenant of the superior landlord for the purpose of the 2003 Regulations.

Natasha also argued that it was irrelevant whether the Non-Resident Tenant had suffered any prejudice (Ashleigh Court Right to Manage Company Limited v De-Nuccio and others [2015] UKUT 258 (LC)) given this was not a case involving an application for dispensation with the consultation requirements. The focus of the case was whether the consultation requirements had been complied with and the court had no jurisdiction to dispense with those requirements.

HHJ Denyer QC noted it was clear that section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 must be complied with. He referred to the fact that the 2003 Regulations made stipulations as to the form and content of the notice. HHJ Denyer QC accepted that the trial judge’s finding of fact was unsustainable. The minutes of the Meeting were not sent to the Non-Resident Tenant thus no written notice was sent and the consultation requirements of the 2003 Regulations had not been complied with. This meant that the Non-Resident Tenant’s liability was limited to £250.

The application for permission to appeal was successful and so was the appeal. Natasha also secured an order under section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to prevent the Management Company from attempting to recover costs as part of the service charge.

This case reminds landlords of the importance of complying with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the 2003 Regulations and dealing with their claim in the appropriate forum. Failure to do so can result in limitation of the tenant’s liability such that the landlord may be out of pocket by a substantial sum, particularly if the landlord does not seek a dispensation from the appropriate tribunal and instead commences proceedings in the County Court.

View profile: Natasha Dzameh

If you would like to discuss instructing Natasha, please contact her clerks on 0117 923 4740 or e-mail 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at St John’s Chambers

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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.

Property and real estate barristers bring lawyers up to speed with the latest developments in property law

John SharplesMembers of our property and real estate team have had a busy autumn delivering their property litigation update to solicitors in Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol over the last few months. These updates were aimed at bringing lawyers up to speed with all the latest developments in the world of property matters.

Chaired by one of the Western Circuit’s property litigation leaders, John Sharples, the afternoon gave delegates a variety of talks from Adam Boyle (who has two proprietary estoppel cases in the Court of Appeal this year under his belt), delivering a review on the Court of Appeal’s recent attempts to grapple with the doctrine of proprietary estoppel. Richard Gold went on to consider developments in landlord and tenant law.  A quick stop for cream teas in the afternoon, and delegates were back to their seats to hear commercial and chancery barrister, Joss Knight, talk about recent developments relating to the law of guarantees with a particular emphasis on the High Court ruling of the viability of assignments in the case of EMI Group Ltd v O v H Q 1 Ltd [2016] EWHC 529 (Ch). The seminar concluded with Charlie Newington-Bridges considering, drafting and interpretation of land option agreements in the context of a case he recently took to the Court of Appeal.

The seminars attracted many solicitors from Bristol and South Wales including members of the Legal Network Wales who kindly sponsored the Swansea event. The delegates described these updates as ‘detailed and a variety of areas covered’ and speakers were ‘excellent, and engaging’.

The property and real estate team will be back on the road again in the New Year delivering talks in Bristol, Exeter, Cornwall and South Wales. To subscribe to our mailing list so you can be kept up to date with these talks, please click here.

You can download copies of the talks:

For further information about our property and real estate team, please visit this page.

St John’s Chambers is recognised for its expertise in 20 areas of law in the 2017 Chambers UK Guide

“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)

Chambers UK logoWe 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
Chancery
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Clinical Negligence
Company
Construction
Competition 
Court of Protection 
Crime
Family / Matrimonial
Fraud
Health & Safety
Licensing
Partnership
Personal Injury
Planning
Professional Negligence
Real Estate Litigation
Restructuring / Insolvency
Tax

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
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