Matthew O’Regan talks on recent developments in competition and State aid law

Matthew O'ReganCompetition Law Barrister, Matthew O’Regan delivered a topical seminar on recent developments in competition and State aid law at St John’s Chambers in Bristol on 16th March 2016. In attendance were solicitors from both leading law firms from across the South West and South Wales and a number of public sector organisations.

In the first part of the seminar, Matthew provided an update for commercial lawyers on recent developments in UK and EU competition law, including in relation to: the application of the Competition Act 1998 to SMEs and professionals; the criminal cartel offence; and merger control. In particular, in the light of a widespread misconception that competition law applies only to big companies, using recent examples, Matthew explained how it in fact applies to all entities engaged in economic activity, regardless of form, size and structure.

In the second half, Matthew examined how the EU procurement and State aid rules apply to projects that receive funding from either the EU structural funds (in particular the European Regional Development Fund) or national public funding (under, for example, the Regional Growth Fund and the Heritage Lottery Memorial Fund). He explained, where EU funds are involved, the importance of complying with the EU procurement rules, whether or not the project falls within the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015: failure to do so is a major cause of funding having to be repaid. Matthew also showed how funding applicants can demonstrate compliance with the State aid rules, in order to receive funding.

Download notes:

View profile: Matthew O’Regan
View team: Competition Law

If you would like to instruct Matthew O’Regan on any competition, State aid, procurement or other EU law matter, please e-mail .

Pupillage applications now open for 2017

We are looking to recruit three pupils in 2017 to work within our chancery & commercial, personal injury & clinical negligence and family practice groups. The opening date for applications for pupillage at St John’s Chambers is Monday 14th March 2016 and the closing date for applications is Friday 15th April 2016.

Successful applicants will commence their pupillage in October 2017.

We look to recruit top-quality applicants with the ability to analyse information quickly and to present arguments succinctly and persuasively. The typical successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (not necessarily in law) with good mooting experience and a desire to excel. We also welcome interest from suitably qualified professionals with a proven track record in industry, law, commerce, banking and medicine.

For more details on how to apply, please visit this page

Adam Boyle’s victory in Miles v The Public Guardian; Beattie v The Public Guardian is reported in Court of Protection Law Reports

Adam BoyleIn July 2015, commercial and chancery barrister Adam Boyle won an appeal to the High Court in front of Mr Justice Nugee in a tricky Court of Protection matter, Miles v The Public Guardian; Beattie v The Public Guardian [2015] EWHC 2960 (Ch). This important decision has just recently been reported in the Court of Protection Law Reports.

The case centred on the degree of specificity which a party drafting an LPA can go into. In particular, the key issue in this matter was whether it is possible to specify the continuation of, in effect, one element of a joint power of attorney by setting out in an LPA  the express reappointment of just one of the two initially jointly appointed persons, in the event that the other can no longer continue to act.

The successful appeal guarantees more choice for donors of LPAs, giving them extra control over who makes the crucial decisions regarding their wellbeing and financial affairs in the event that they become mentally vulnerable. It would also appear to represent a loosening, by the court, of the previously tight rules imposed on attempts to deviate from the norm in LPAs.

Adam will be publishing an article about this case, which ensures greater freedom for those making Lasting Powers of Attorney, in the Law Society Private Client magazine this May. This article will be displayed on our chambers website.

View profile: Adam Boyle

If you wish to instruct Adam on any Court of Protection or wills and trusts matters, please contact his clerks by emailing

St John’s annual family finance conference described as ‘fantastic’

Christopher SharpOur family finance team hosted their annual one-day money conference on 3rd March 2016 at the M-Shed, Bristol. The event was extremely successful, and provided legal practitioners with a selection of hot topic updates in the world of family finance.

Chair Christopher Sharp QC began the conference with a review of robust costs decisions in recent financial remedy cases. This talk was followed by Richard Norman who looked at the development of the law relating to contributions arguments including recent case law. Zoe Saunders then went on to provide a guide to enforcement of financial remedy orders. Jody Atkinson provided an update on changes to the state pension, the impact on divorcing couples, and recent decisions concerning pension sharing and offsetting. After lunch Nick Miller discussed such matters as interim orders for sale, essential pre FDA action to comply with Part 25 and maximising chances of success in MPS applications. In the afternoon, Claire McRea a Chartered Tax Adviser of Grant Thornton came along to present a talk on the tax costs of separation and divorce, and the day ended with Andrew Commins presenting a reminder and analysis of the important ToLATA cases of the last 12 months.

Delegates have described the day as “really excellent course”, “excellent value for money” and “a very helpful update with hints & tips.”

“A very enjoyable day of family law, made all the better for the cracking view of Bristol harbour in the sunshine.” says Amy Royce-Greensill of Jordans Family Law who kindly attended the conference and gave a brilliant review. View article: Annual One Day Money Conference

For more information about our family finance team, please visit this page. If you would like to instruct our speakers on any family finance cases, please e-mail

Planning barristers Peter Wadsley and Philip Robson successful in the High Court in Forest of Dean District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & another

Peter WadsleyHead of our planning team Peter Wadsley and his junior Philip Robson successfully acted in the High Court on behalf of Forest of Dean District Council in an important planning decision in the case of Forest of Dean District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & another [2016] EWHC 421 (Admin). This case provides much needed judicial guidance to LPAs who often come up against the problem of the “significantly and demonstrably” balance in NPPF paragraph 14 as a result of not showing a 5-year housing land supply.

Philip Robson 1It is a frequent occurrence in the determination of planning applications or appeals that local planning authorities (“LPAs”) are unable to demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply.  As a result paragraphs 49 and 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) come in to play.  This means that unless the LPA can show that the harms “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits” of the proposal, or that a specific policy in the NPPF indicates that development should be restricted, there is a presumption in favour of granting planning permission.  Given the frequency with which Council’s are not able to show a 5-year supply of housing land, the operation of these two policies is vital.

The High Court recently considered how NPPF 49 and 14 operate where the developer and Council accept that there is less than substantial harm to a designated heritage asset in NPPF paragraph 134 terms.  The judgment of the High Court in Forest of Dean District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & another [2016] EWHC 421 (Admin), agreeing with the arguments of the Council and the Secretary of State, was that where a proposal causes less than substantial harm to a listed building, the presumption in favour of granting development is disapplied.

Philip will be providing a more detailed discussion about this case which will be displayed shortly.

If you would like to instruct Peter or Philip on any planning cases, please e-mail: .  

View profile: Peter Wadsley / Philip Robson

For more information about our planning team, please visit this page.

Nicholas Pointon successfully acts in data access proceedings against the States of Jersey Employment Board and Minister for Health and Social Services

Nicholas PointonNicholas Pointon, member of our commercial dispute resolution team successfully acted in the case of Alwitry v (1) States Employment Board; and (2) Minister for Health and Social Services [2016] JRC 050 (Jersey Royal Ct.) for a leading consultant ophthalmologist in data access proceedings against the States of Jersey Employment Board and Minister for Health and Social Services, arising out of the purported termination of Mr Alwitry’s contract of employment at the Jersey General Hospital.

The proceedings, heard before the Royal Court of Jersey, are the first occasion on which the provisions of the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005 have come before the Island’s courts. The case tested the extent to which a data subject was entitled to make data access requests in circumstances where related litigation was either pending or in contemplation. The Court surveyed mainland authorities on the application of the Data Protection Act 1998 together with the guidance of both the English and Jersey Data Commissioners.

Following cross-examination of the former Solicitor General of the States of Jersey, Advocate Howard Sharp QC, the Royal Court accepted the submissions made on Mr Alwitry’s behalf and ordered the States Employment Board to provide disclosure of the documents and personal data requested by Mr Alwitry.

Nicholas acted together with Jersey Advocate Steven Chiddicks of Sinels Advocates.

For more information, please visit: Jersey Evening Post

If you would like to instruct Nicholas Pointon in any type of commercial dispute case, please contact his clerks .

Emma Zeb acts at the inquest into the death of John Rogers

Emma ZebOur inquest barrister, Emma Zeb is representing Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board at the 4-day inquest into the death of John Rogers.

John Rogers was a 78 year old man who died at Glan Clwyd Hospital on 28 March 2015. Mr Rogers had suffered a cardiac arrest and the inquest is examining the actions of those who attempted to resuscitate him.

This inquest has attracted national coverage, please visit:

If you would like to instruct Emma on any type of inquest case, please contact her .

View profile: Emma Zeb

Business as usual at St John’s Chambers

St John’s Chambers are now back in business following a recent fire at their offices, 101 Victoria Street.

We would like to thank our clients for being patient whilst we were unable to access our office. Special thanks go to Lyons Davidson and Milsted Langdon for providing Chambers with accommodation to run Chambers administration.

In addition we would also like to thank our contractors who facilitated the resumption of full IT and communications infrastructure.

If you have any enquiries please contact our clerks.

A review of financial remedy cases (October 2015 to February 2016): latest article from Christopher Sharp QC

Christopher SharpChristopher Sharp QC, who is acknowledged by Chambers UK as one of only five star Silks in Family Law in the country has recently published an article for the Easter edition of the FLBA’s newsletter, Family Affairs.  

The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from October 2015 to the end of February 2016. An earlier and edited version of this article will be published in the FLBA’s Family Affairs Easter edition.

View article (Easter Edition): A review of financial remedy cases
View article (Autumn Edition): A baker’s dozen of financial remedy cases
View article (Summer Edition): While you were sleeping…various developments since spring 2014

View profile: Christopher Sharp QC 

St John’s Chambers welcomes personal injury and costs barrister James Marwick

James MarwickCalled to the bar in 2008 James Marwick joins our personal injury practice group from Trinity Chambers in Newcastle.

James is a personal injury and costs barrister with a nationwide practice acting for both claimants and defendants in the County Court and High Court. He is frequently engaged to deal with matters with novel costs and procedural issues or those otherwise requiring technical expertise. James’ practice extends into dealing with insurance and recovery related civil matters, with a particular focus on claims with a construction or local authority aspect. He also has a special interest in the law relating to village greens, parks and open spaces, and is regularly instructed to act as independent inspector in a quasi-judicial capacity by a number of registration authorities in relation to village green applications.

Glyn Edwards, Head of Personal Injury Practice Group said: “We are delighted to welcome James to St John’s Chambers. James adds further strength and depth to our personal injury team and will ensure we can continue to offer our clients fantastic cover at all levels – he has proved himself to be popular with instructing solicitors because of his exceptional user-friendly approach and ability to work as part of a team with professional and lay clients.”

James said: “I am really looking forward to being part of the Personal Injury team at St John’s Chambers. When looking to relocate from Newcastle to Bristol, I did not look any further than St John’s Chambers with its exceptional reputation, particularly in my practice areas. Annette and her team have made my move as smooth as possible. Equally, the personal injury team have gone out of their way to welcome me into Chambers. I am excited for the challenge of working in such a dynamic environment and building a successful practice in the South West.”

If you would like to discuss instructing James, please contact his clerks on 0117 923 4730 or e-mail .

View profile: James Marwick