Emma Zeb instructed in high profile prison death inquest

Emma Zeb, a member of St John’s Chambers’ specialist and experienced inquest team, represents Gloucester Constabulary at a two week article 2 inquest into the death of Callum Smith who died whilst an inmate at HMP Bristol in March 2016. 

Emma’s role in this inquest is another example of her being instructed in a high profile inquest involving the examination of the duties, actions and management of multiple agencies in the care of an individual with potential mental health problems.

 To read the press link, please click below:

View profile: Emma Zeb

If you would like to speak to Emma on any inquest matter, please e-mail:

Christopher Sharp QC advises in Re K (A Child: deceased) [2017] EWHC 1083 (Fam)

Christopher Sharp QC, family law silk, appeared for the local authority in the recent case of Re K (A Child: deceased) [2017] EWHC 1083 (Fam) which reviews the case law on the powers of the court, and clarifies the extent of the inherent jurisdiction, in addressing the appropriate disposal of the body of a child.

To read the full case published on BAILII

View profile: Christopher Sharp QC

 If you would like to discuss instructing Christopher Sharp QC, please contact the clerks on 0117 923 4720 or e-mail 


Chambers raise £4,800 for Headway UK following ‘very interesting’ Brain Injury Rehabilitation Conference

St John’s Chambers were pleased to support Headway, the brain injury association, by hosting a Brain Injury Conference in Bristol at the end of 2016. The event raised £4,800 in support of the charity and was kindly sponsored by Renvilles Costs Lawyers and Consultants, large costs service providers, and Nestor, specialist independent financial advisors to personal injury and clinical negligence legal practitioners and their clients.

Glyn Edwards, Head of the Personal Injury Group, was delighted to recently present a cheque to Jo Plant, Director of Fundraising at Headway, at their Bristol chambers. Pictured with Glyn handing over the cheque to Jo Plant are Derek Jenkins, CEO, and Annette Bushell, Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Practice Manager, both from St John’s Chambers.

“We are pleased to offer direct support to Headway, who work tirelessly to re build shattered lives after brain injury. St John’s Chambers are committed to helping Headway with their invaluable support and services to brain injury survivors, raising much needed funds for this charity” said Derek Jenkins.

Asha Pearce-Groves reviews the summary assessment of costs in relation to applications for declarations of parentage in a recent case

Asha Pearce-Groves, family law barrister, reviews the recent case of Cases F and H No. 2 [2017] EWHC 964 (Fam) in Family Law Week.

To read the full summary on the Family Law Week website, see:

View profile: Asha Pearce-Groves


If you would like to discuss instructing Asha Pearce-Groves, please contact the clerks on 0117 923 4720 or e-mail 

Relief from sanction after Denton : A summary of cases

St John’s Chambers’ Personal Injury barrister Marcus Coates-Walker has updated the table first created by barrister Matthew White summarising cases which have dealt with relief from sanction issues since Denton. The document provides readers with cases from Denton up to the end of April 2017. It sets out each part of the Denton test together with the outcome.

For example:-

The table is broken into the following areas:- pre action, costs budgets, pleadings, disclosure, witness statements, expert evidence, pre-trial, trial, appeals, costs, overarching principles, and miscellaneous. The idea is that if you have a case involving relief from sanctions you can use the table to find your way to potentially similar cases and discover the approach of the court in other cases quickly.

View/download summary of cases: Relief from sanction after Denton: A summary of cases

View profile: Marcus Coates-Walker & Matthew White

If you would like to instruct Marcus or Matthew on a related matter please contact their clerks via email on

St John’s Chambers rowing and raising funds in support of Headway Somerset

St John’s Chambers and their friends look forward to taking part in the Taunton Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday 11 June 2017 in support of their chosen charity, Headway Somerset.

This is our 5th dragon boat race, once again raising much needed funds for a worthy cause. Having just missed the trophy last year we will be rowing hard to win the much coveted first prize at the Festival!

Members of our team include Derek Jenkins, Vanessa McKinlay, Maggie Stephens, James Marwick, Natasha Dzameh, Robert Mills, Iain Large, Rachel Segal, Elaine Jewell-Moore, Sean Doherty, Louise Reid and Anita Young.

The team is hoping to raise over £2,000 for Headway Somerset, a charity offering vital support and rehabilitation services to people in the local community affected by brain injury.

We would be grateful for any support you can give Headway Somerset and our team via our JustGiving page. Please visit:

Leslie Blohm QC and Charlie Newington-Bridges obtain an order enforcing ‘put option’ for sale of family farmhouse

Leslie Blohm QCLeslie Blohm QC and Charlie Newington-Bridges, barristers within St John’s Chambers’ Property & Real Estate team, have recently obtained an order enforcing ‘put option’ for sale of a family farmhouse.

When Mr. & Ms. Yarnold and their daughter and son in law Mr. & Mrs. Smith decided to regularise their rights in the property they were living in, they included a “put option”, the right to serve a notice giving the recipient the right to buy out their share, and in default of which the property would be sold on the open market. After  its operation by Mr. & Mrs. Yarnold they had second thoughts, and the Court had to consider whether Mr. & Mrs. Smith were entitled to buy Mr. & Mrs. Yarnold out. The case threw up issues of interpretation, the strictness of time limits in options, waiver, rectification, specific performance and ‘clean hands’ in equitable remedies, and illustrates the complex issues that arise on claims such as this, if the parties are unable to resolve their disputes by agreement.

Leslie Blohm QC and Charlie Newington-Bridges of St. Johns Chambers instructed by PBW solicitors represented Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Read the full article: Options, Equity and a Family at War

View the judgement: Smith v Yarnold Final Judgement

View Profile: Leslie Blohm QC & Charlie Newington-Bridges

If you would like to instruct Leslie or Charlie on a commercial or chancery matter, please contact their clerks on:  or 0117 923 4740

Martha Maher and Christopher Jones recommended as leading barristers by Who’s Who UK Bar 2017

Martha Maher (Call 1987), Commercial barrister, is identified as a ‘top barrister’ by Who’s Who UK Bar: Company and Partnership 2017. She is described as having “30 years experience, in commercial chancery work” with “extensive expertise in partnership disputes and directors’ disqualification cases”.


Christopher Jones (Call 2004), Real Estate barrister, is recommended as a “most highly Christoper Jonesregarded” junior at the property Bar by Who’s Who UK Bar: Real Estate 2017,  the only barrister outside of London to be named. He is “noted for his ‘excellent client, skills, rational thinking and practical application of legal principles’. Jones focuses his practice on litigation relating to easements, restrictive covenants and land sale contracts.”


If you would like to instruct Martha or Christopher on a commercial or real estate matter, please contact the clerks on:  or 0117 923 4740

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 

Contract Case Law Update – Spring 2017

Barristers: Nicholas Pointon and Natasha Dzameh

Area of Law:  Company and Commercial

Source: St John’s Chambers

Date: 20 April 2017

On timeshares to all-inclusive holidays – roll on summer!

Welcome to the St John’s Chambers’ Spring 2017 edition of our contract law case updater now in its fourth publication – click on the link below. We hope you will continue to find these handy case summaries to be a useful tool in keeping you up to speed with the most significant contract law developments of the last quarter.

In this issue Nick Pointon considers intentions to create legal relations over dinner (MacInnes v Gross [2017] EWHC 46), agreements to agree to sell ships (Teekay Tankers v STX [2017] EWHC 253), unfair contract terms in timeshare schemes (Abbott v RCI Europe [2016] EWHC 2602) and the metaphysics of buffets in the package holiday industry (Wood v First Choice [2017] EWCA Civ 11).

Natasha Dzameh reviews the duty of solicitors to warn clients about the risks of alternative interpretations (Balogun v Boyes Sutton and Perry [2017] EWCA Civ 75) and the scope of  solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance (AIG Europe Ltd v Woodman [2017] UKSC 18).

We also take this opportunity to draw readers’ attention to the launch of the “SJC Junior Insight” seminar series, a brand new collection of seminars on key aspects of civil procedure, rolling out this Summer.

Introductory details of the new series appear in the attached flyer (link below). Please do let us know if you or your colleagues would like to arrange any seminars with our junior counsel in the coming months.


Nicholas Pointon

Natasha Dzameh


Download our Spring 2017 updater: Case Citator – 20 April 2017 – Nick Pointon and Natasha Dzameh