TrailWalker Challenge 2016

Ben Handy

Ben Handy

On 22nd July members of St John’s Chambers are undertaking the TrailWalker Challenge 2016. Described as an “unforgettable endurance challenge”, the event raises money for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Ben Handy, of our Personal Injury team, Charlie Newington-Bridges, Adam Boyle and Joss Knight of our Commercial and Chancery team will trek 100 km in 30 hours. This event is a physical and mental challenge which Ben Handy, organiser of the St John’s Chambers team, has previously experienced,  “I tried the Oxfam’s Trailtrekker a few years ago (a similar challenge to TrailWalker only in the Pennines) and I had to pull out at 65km, so I can vouch for how hard this will be.”

Charlie Newington-Bridges

Charlie Newington-Bridges

The motivation behind this challenge is the two excellent charities “The opportunity to raise money for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust is a big attraction, we hope to raise at least £1,400 and hopefully more which will be put to very good use by the two charities.” Says Ben. Oxfam works in over 90 countries, fighting poverty by responding to emergencies, through development projects and campaigns to tackle the root causes.

Please visit the teams JustGiving page to donate:

Adam Boyle

Adam Boyle

Trailwalker also raises money for The Gurkha Welfare Trust, which was founded in 1969 when it was realised that thousands of ex-Gurkha servicemen and their widows were living in destitution in the hill villages of Nepal. Today, The Gurkha Welfare Trust is working in both Nepal and the UK. The focus of its work is caring for the elderly Gurkha soldiers and their widows in Nepal who are dependent on the Trust for a dignified secure old age. It provides a monthly Welfare Pension, a Winter Fuel Allowance and emergency Hardship grants. It also looks after all their medical needs, from GP care to long-term hospital treatment.

Joss Knight 2

Joss Knight

“This trek presents a great opportunity to have fun with a few friends…the fact that it’s all for a great cause makes it even better”, says Adam. Joss, who grew up in the Lake District and has always enjoyed walking is looking forward to the “physical and mental challenge”.

The team are  now well into their training programme with individuals taking part in Marathons this year in preparation and as a team they are making the most of every opportunity to go running, swimming and walking in the hills. Charlie is also enlisting the help of his children “I have three small children who put me under constant pressure to run around the garden so they will be helping with my training.”

Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Clerk, Adam Marston ,will be supporting the team by following them around the South Downs by car on their 30 hour trek

Judi Evans speaks to BBC Radio 3 Counties on removals of babies from mothers

Judy_Evans-300x198Head of our family practice group, Judi Evans was interviewed on BBC Radio 3 Counties on the destructive repeat cycle of removals of babies from mothers.

Judi discussed the cost of removal, lack of therapeutic intervention coupled with LARC, funding for Pause, the need to role it out nationally, and the need for intervention. Judi was then joined by Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director, Dr Freda Gardner.

You can listen to Judi’s interview on the BBC Radio 3 Counties website: Jonathan Vernon-Smith phone-in – babies in care

View profile: Judi Evans

Chambers raise over £3,000 at charity golf day for AvMA

AvMA Panel 2015 021

Left to right – Derek Jenkins (CEO – St John’s Chambers), Hugh Williams (Deputy CEO – AvMA) Gill Savage (Patient Helpline Manager – AvMA)

St John’s Chambers organised a Charity Golf Day & Dinner at The Bristol Golf Club on 30th September 2015 in aid of AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents), the charity for patient safety and justice, raising the fabulous sum of £3,285.

34 golfers completed the 18-hole 4 ball Stableford competition in the beautiful Autumn sunshine with ARAG taking first place and St John’s coming in a close second. A sterling effort was put in by sponsors Paragon Costs, who had never played golf before and had been training all summer for this golf day. Other teams that participated were from Withy King, Foot Anstey LLP and Wyvern Partnership.

We would like to say a big thank you to Paragon Costs for sponsoring the event, Scott Law for donating the fantastic goody bags, Gemini West for printing the programmes and to all that donated prizes for the raffle.

In particular we thank all those who supported us in raising much needed funds for our chosen charity, AvMA.

Philip Walker, Fundraising Manager (AvMA) said: “A big thank you to the team at St John’s Chambers; it was the best golf day so far. The support we receive from organisations such as St John’s – and all those who took part in the Golf Event – is vital in helping us raise awareness about Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA).  The money raised from the golf day is being used to support families as part of our pro-bono inquest service and work on prevention of future deaths. As many as 10 families will be helped thanks to St John’s Chambers.”

For more information about the charity, please visit:  

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year from everyone at St John’s Chambers

iStock_000010812330Large2Over the festive period, Chambers will be closed from 5:00pm on Wednesday, 23rd December and will re-open from 9:30am until 4:00pm on Tuesday 29th December through to Thursday 31st December.

We will open again for normal business hours on Monday, 4th January 2016.

For any emergency enquiries, please see our out of hours numbers.

Our new agriculture and rural affairs team talk at the agricultural property and tax seminar

Alison Graham-WellsOur new agriculture and rural affairs team delivered a 2-hour update on agricultural property and tax at St John’s Chambers on 2nd December. This seminar aimed to bring practitioners up to speed with all the latest developments in this field, and in attendance were solicitors from Ashfords LLP, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Bond Dickinson LLP, Clarke Willmott and many more.

Leslie Blohm QC who was recently voted ‘Barrister of the Year’ by Bristol Law Society kicked off the event by discussing the Cowshed Cinderella case, and the apparent rise in claims to succeed to farms by children of farming families.  The recently appointed Philip Robson then went on to consider the acquisition, transmission and preservation of fishing and shooting rights, and other profits. Our extremely knowledgeable tax expert Alison Graham-Wells who is one of only three barristers recommended outside London for tax litigation,  provided a road map to current developments within the IHT tax relief provisions relevant to rural and agricultural businesses. Head of our property team, John Sharples who is widely admired for his prowess in property disputes looked at recent cases on public rights of way and modifications to the definitive map and some recent cases concerning obstructions of private rights of way.

The seminar received fantastic feedback, comments included:

  • Very engaging speakers
  • Very slick
  • Good variety of topics within agricultural context

View team: agriculture and rural affairs

Download notes:

Our friendly and efficient team of clerks will be happy to answer any of your questions.

A baker’s dozen of financial remedy cases: 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 Autumn edition of the FLBA’s newsletter, Family Affairs.  

The article covers a selection of 13 of the more important financial remedy cases decided in the period from June until September 2015. This article is a follow up article to the one Christopher published in the Summer edition of Family Affairs, reviewing the previous 15 months 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 

Property Leases and Competition Law: latest article from Matthew O’Regan

Matthew O'ReganIn his latest article, Matthew O’Regan, Competition Law specialist, examines when, by reference to a recent judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C – 345/14 SIA ‘Maxima Latvija’ v Konkurences padome, provisions in a commercial property lease may infringe the Competition Act 1998.

It is common for commercial property leases to contain restrictions on how a tenant may use the leased premises. They may, for example, restrict the ability of the tenant to sell certain types of products, by specifying permitted uses (through a ‘permitted user’ clause) or prohibited uses (through a ‘restricted user’ clause). Alternatively, restrictions may be imposed on the landlord; for example the operator of a shopping centre or a parade of shops may covenant with a retailer not to lease units to other retailers selling the same or similar goods or services. Whilst many such restrictions will not damage competition between retailers, in some circumstances they may do so and therefore be unlawful under either national or EU competition law.

On 26 November 2015, in SIA ‘Maxima Latvija’ v Konkurences Padome,[1] the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) provided guidance on when the provisions of a property lease (which gave an ‘anchor tenant’ the right to veto the grant to third parties of leases of other units in shopping centres) may be anti-competitive.

Importantly, the CJEU emphasised that the agreements in question did not have an anti-competitive object. Therefore, for an infringement of competition law to be established, it must be shown that the agreements had sufficient adverse effects on competition. This would indicate that, in the relevant context, some provisions in commercial leases that restrict the freedom of the landlord or the tenant may be anti-competitive and thus unenforceable, but conversely many will not.

This judgment will be of interest to landlords, tenants and prospective tenants alike. It follows on from the English judgment in December 2013 in Martin Retail Group v Crawley Borough Council,[2] in which HH Judge Dight, sitting in the Central London County Court, held that provisions of a lease were unenforceable for infringing the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (“1998 Act”).[3]

Continue reading article here: European Court of Justice provides guidance on when provisions of property leases may be anti-competitive

View profile: Matthew O’Regan

David Fletcher successfully acts in recent Supreme Court test case on funding for the disabled

David FletcherDavid Fletcher, member of our Administrative Law team successfully acted on behalf of Somerset County Council in the recent Supreme Court test case on funding for the disabled: R (Cornwall County Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Others [2015] UKSC 46.

This landmark ruling by the Supreme Court gives important guidance to local authorities responsible for care of the disabled as to the allocation of financial responsibility where disabled persons lacking mental capacity are placed out of county, and as to the proper interpretation of ‘ordinary residence’.

David acted throughout for Somerset Council, and his arguments on the interpretation of the legislation were accepted by the Supreme Court in overruling the Court of Appeal.

For a more detailed discussion about this case: Landmark ruling on funding for the disabled

View profile: David Fletcher

Part-time pupillage – making it work: latest article from Dianne Martin and Dr Kate Harrington

Dianne_MartinHead of our Pupillage Committee, Dianne Martin and part-time pupil Dr Kate Harrington recount their respective experiences of setting up, and undertaking, one of the Bar’s first part-time pupillages and consider its wider applicability in the latest edition of the Counsel magazine.

View article: Part-time pupillage: making it work

To find out more about our pupillage scheme, please visit: Pupillage at St John’s Chambers

No fee means no application. Price v Egbert H Taylor & Company Limited

Mathew-WhiteMatthew White
, member of our personal injury team successfully represented the Defendant in the recent civil procedure appeal Price v Egbert H Taylor & Company Limited at Birmingham County Court (judgment handed down 3/11/15). The claim was struck out on the basis that an application to extend time for service of the claim form, whilst received by the court in time, did not have the right fee with it so was in fact not made until too late.

The Claimant suffered a stroke at work. He contended that his employer should have called an ambulance rather than having him driven to a hospital which then had to transfer him. He was always going to need medical evidence to make out causation. He was very slow to get it. He issued the claim in April 2014 hard up against the limitation period. In August 2014 he applied for (and got) an ex parte extension of time to serve the claim form, PoC and medical evidence. He still had no medical evidence within the extra allowed time, so in November 2014 applied again and got a second extension until 10/3/15. Still having no medical report he applied again. The application reached the court on 6/3/15.

Two problems:-

(1) The claimant’s solicitor forgot to enclose the fee with the March 2015 application and the fee was not received until the previously allowed time had run out; and
(2) He sent that application to the bulk centre where the claim had been started but by that time it had been transferred to Birmingham.

If the application were in time that would trigger the court’s discretion under CPR 7.6(2) in relation to a further extension of time. If the application was late, the court could only give more time if the much tougher 7.6(3) criteria were met.

The Claimant relied on CPR 23.5:- “Where an application must be made within a specified time, it is so made if the application notice is received by the court within that time.” He contended that the lack of fee was no problem because “the application notice” was received in time (albeit that by the time the fee was paid, it was too late).

The judge (on appeal) rejected that:-

“76. … I accept the submissions on behalf of the Respondent that this was a situation akin to filing a Claim Form with no fee. In that scenario the Court will not issue the Claim Form. In short the claim is issued when it is delivered to the Court with the appropriate fee. The rationale being the purpose that the limitation period and extensions of time are designed to achieve. Further, I accept his submission that by analogy an attempt to extend time without a fee is treated as invalid. Put bluntly, the risk of not filing the right fee when issuing ought to fall on the applicant. Further, there is no difference in principle between the first fee upon issue of the proceedings and later fees necessary in order to apply to extensions of time.

77. Further, I accept the submissions on behalf of the Respondent that as the Appellant was in control of (a) whether; (b) when; and (c) where the Court received the fee, the logic of Collier v Williams is consistent with time not stopping to run merely when the application is received without the fee and in the wrong Court. Any errors were the responsibility of the Appellant and his legal advisors. It is self evident that the Court will not issue the application, even if an application notice has been received, if no fee has been paid.

The simple message is:

  • Claimants:- Make sure you pay the correct fee on time! [Note that tendering the right fee might well suffice… see Sands & Another v Singh and Others [2015] EWHC 2219 (Ch) (HHJ Purle QC sitting in the Birmingham District Registry)].
  • Defendants:- Watch out for this. The Defendant got lucky in this case, only discovering that the fee was paid late because it applied to set aside the second extension of time (which was served on it in error) and counsel (Matthew White) asked the judge at the hearing of the application for a chronology of what had happened so far as the court was concerned in relation to the second and third applications to extend time. That led to discovery that the application was received in time with no fee, and the fee was only paid late.

Download full judgment: Price v Egbert H Taylor & Company Limited

View profile: Matthew White