St John’s welcomes Edward Bennett

Edward-Bennett-190x285St John’s Chambers is delighted to welcome new associate member Edward Bennett. Edward will be joining our Family and Court of Protection teams.

Edward was admitted as a solicitor in 2011 and called to the Bar in 2013, his practice incorporates family law, court of protection, and community case, with particular focus on cases with an international element. Edward’s recent cases include being led by Barbara Connolly Q.C in an international surrogacy case A 7 B [2015] EWHC 2080 (Fam). In 2014 Edward acted in AA v TT [2014] EWHC 3488 (Fam), the only case under the 1980 European Convention where the English court has refused to recognise a foreign custody order on the grounds that to do so would be manifestly incompatible with a principle of English Family Law.

He is the General Editor of the International Family Law Journal and was recently named Young Family Barrister of the Year at the 2015 Family Law Awards. Edward will be splitting his practice between St John’s Chambers and Field Court Chambers in London.

View full profile: Edward Bennett

Emma Zeb represents the mother of child with undiagnosed brain tumour at inquest

Emma ZebEmma Zeb, a member of our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, will be representing the mother of Ayaan Hussain at the inquest into his death due to take place at Bristol Coroner’s Court on 23 October.

Ayaan was 23 months of age when he passed away on 11 December 2014 at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. He had been suffering from a malignant brain tumour which was undiagnosed prior to his collapse on 10 December 2014. The inquest will explore the care that Ayaan received from medial professionals involved in his care prior to his collapse and tragic death.

Lucy Reed successfully secures relaxation of privacy rules to allow journalist to report detail of family proceedings

Lucy Reed, Lucy Reeda member of our Children team, acted for freelance journalist Louise Tickle in Tickle v Council & Borough of North Tyneside v G v H, J & I (Children) EWHC 2991 (Fam) in which she successfully secured permission for her to anonymously report information relating to the proceedings involving the children of a mother whose youngest child was removed at birth but was rehabilitated to her care at the conclusion of care proceedings.

In this unusual application Lucy Reed secured access to the court papers and transcripts of all previous proceedings, and a relaxation of the provisions of s12 AJA 1960 to enable the story to be reported in detail, with only minimal restriction on reporting to prevent identification of the children.

Lucy Reed acted pro bono through public access in this case, owing to the public interest issues arising.

View full judgment: [2015] EWHC 2991 (Fam)

St John’s Chambers welcomes new pupils Natasha and Marcus

St John’s Chambers is very pleased to welcome new pupils Natasha Dzameh and Marcus Coates-Walker.

Natasha DzamehNatasha will be working within our Commercial and Chancery team. She will be supervised by Christopher Jones, Alex Troup, John Dickinson and Guy Adams in order to provide exposure to the broadest possible range of commercial and chancery matters. Natasha has previously worked in a Paralegal role and gained significant advocacy experience working as a self-employed County Court Advocate for several firms over two years. Having attained an LLM (Distinction) in International Commercial Law, she applied to St John’s due to our reputation as “a leading commercial and chancery set”. In her spare time Natasha enjoys good food, literature and attempting to play the electric guitar.

Marcus Coates-WalkerMarcus will be working within our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence teams and will be supervised by Glyn Edwards and Emma Zeb. Marcus was attracted to St John’s “because of its enviable number of leading practitioners and the opportunity to gain considerable experience in one Practice Group from a 12 month pupillage”. Having graduated from Cardiff University, Marcus spent a year as a Director and Trustee of a large charity in the Higher Education sector. He has spent the past two years as Project Manager of a high-profile independent review at a commercial law firm in London. Marcus is an avid sports fan, watching as much rugby as he can in his spare time. He also enjoys skiing and travelling.

For more information on pupillage at St John’s Chambers please visit our pupillage page here

SH v Italy – violation of Article 8 by failing to support family to stay together: Latest article from Sarah Phillimore

Sarah PhillimoreSarah Phillimore, a member of our Children law team, provides a case analysis of SH v Italy in which the European Court unanimously found violation of the mother’s Article 8 rights because she had not been given enough support by the State to keep her family together. She was awarded 32,000 Euros in compensation. The below extract is taken from her Blog on

The Facts

The mother, had 3 children, born in 2005, 2006 and 2008. She had depression and was taking medication. On 11th August 2009 the Italian authorities removed the children from the care of the parents after several incidents where the children had ingested medication and required hospitalisation.

On 20th October 2009 the parents conceded they were struggling but they could care for the children with the help of Italian social services and the children’s grandfather. On 3rd December 2009 a psychiatrist concluded that the children should be reunited with their parents; the mother was following ‘pharmacological therapy’, was willing to undergo psychotherapy and had a very strong emotional bond with the children. The Italian equivalent of the children’s guardian agreed and recommended the reunification of the family with a support package.

On January 19th 2010 the Italian court ordered the return of the children. However, sadly in March 2010 the children were once again removed as the mother was hospitalised, had separated from the father and the grandfather was ill. There then followed a period of delay until the court ordered an expert’s report in October 2010. The report came in January 2011 and recommended that the children remain in foster care while contact with their parents was increased and the matter re-assessed in 6 months time.

However, the court rejected these recommendations and on 1st March 2011 ‘declared the children adoptable’ and contact ceased. The court relied upon the ‘serious mental problems’ of the mother and that the father could not show affection to the children and displayed aggression in his interactions with social workers.

The parents appealed but this was rejected by the Appeals Court in Rome in February 2012:

The Court of Appeal observed that the authorities had made the necessary efforts to ensure support to parents and to prepare the return of children to their families. However, the project had failed, which demonstrated the inability of parents to exercise their parental role and the lack of transitional nature of the situation. Based on the findings of social services, the appeal court emphasized that the project’s bankruptcy had had negative consequences for children and adoptability was to safeguard their interest in being welcomed into a family able to care for them adequately, that their family of origin was not able to do because of the mother’s health and the father’s difficulties. The Court of Appeal noted that there had been positive developments in the situation, as the awareness of the mother of her health problems and her willingness to follow a treatment course and the father’s efforts to find resources to take care of his children or the availability of the grandfather to help his son. However, according to the Court of Appeal, these elements were not sufficient for the purposes of assessing the ability of the parents to exercise their parental role.

A further appeal to the Supreme Court failed. In February 2014 the mother attempted to revoke the adoption order but was unsuccessful and thus she applied to the European Court, claiming a violation of her rights under Article 8 of the ECHR, in that the Italian authorities had not met its obligation to provide support to keep the family together. The children ended up in 3 different places; not only did they lose their relationship with their parents, but also with each other.

View full article here: SH v Italy

View profile: Sarah Phillimore

St John’s Chambers and Leslie Blohm QC Winners at Bristol Law Society Legal Awards!

We are delighted to announce that St John’s Chambers and Leslie Blohm QC have been awarded Chambers of the Year and Barrister of the Year at last night’s Bristol Law Society Legal Awards.

Bristol Law Society Annual Awards Dinner 2015‏ 68

Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers and Derek Jenkins, CEO (Centre)

The Awards Dinner was held at the Marriott City Centre, Bristol and hosted by BBC Correspondent Clive Coleman. The sell out event had a theme of access to justice as Bristol Law Society President Michael Gupwell gave a moving keynote speech in which he described his commitment to the Bristol Legal community and how Access to Justice is at the centre of the community. Attending from St John’s were Susan Hunter, Head of Chambers, Derek Jenkins, CEO, Annette Bushell, Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Practice Manager, Luke Hodgson, Family Practice Manager, Glyn Edwards, Head of Personal Injury Team and guests.

Derek Jenkins has said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won Chambers of the Year and congratulations to Leslie for winning Barrister of the year. Well done to all the other winners as well, what a fabulous night!”

For a full list of winners please visit the Bristol Law Society website:


Adrian Maxwell appointed to FA Anti Discrimination Disciplinary Chairman’s Panel

Adrian MaxwellAdrian Maxwell, a member of our Regulatory and Disciplinary team has been appointed to the Football Association’s Anti Discrimination Disciplinary Chairman’s Panel.

Following the launch of the Football Association’s Anti-Discrimination and Inclusion Policy the Chairman’s Panel has been formed to adjudicate in cases where affiliated club players, spectators, officials and others under the FA regime make reference to ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability.

Adrian was appointed to the panel this year and will chair disciplinary panels nationwide, oversee the management of cases and provide written judgments.

View Profile: Adrian Maxwell


Zoë Saunders nominated for Bar Pro Bono Award

Zoe SaundersWe are delighted to announce that Zoë Saunders a member of our Family team has been nominated for the 2015 Sydney Elland Goldsmith Bar Pro Bono Award!

This award is a celebration of an individual barrister, group of barristers, or set of chambers in recognition of outstanding commitment to pro bono work. The winner will be presented with the Award by the Chairman of the Bar, Alistair MacDonald QC, during this year’s Bar and Young Bar Conference on Saturday 17th October 2015.

Zoë has said of her nomination I am thrilled and grateful to have been nominated for this award, I am humbled to be considered amongst such worthy nominees and would like to thank Susan Hunter for nominating me and my clerk and clients for their very kind letters of support.”

For a full list of nominees please visit the Bar Pro Bono Unit website.

View profile: Zoë Saunders


St John’s Chambers identified as a ‘Western Circuit Powerhouse’ by Legal 500

Noted for its strength in depth and wealth of experience, Western circuit powerhouse St John’s Chambers takes a commercial approach and attracts work from regional and national instructing parties.” Legal 500 (2015)

Top_tier_firmsWe 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 2015 edition of The Legal 500.

Three of our QCs are listed in the “Leading silks” list – a guide to outstanding silks nationwide.

  • Leslie Blohm QC “His careful and considered approach makes him an outstanding advocate” Commercial, banking and insolvency.His practice covers easements, restrictive covenants, and landlord and tenant matters, among other areas.” Property.
  • Christopher Sharp QC “He is meticulous and always fully prepared” Family and children law.He has a real talent for detailed examination of evidence.” Personal injury and clinical negligence.
  • Kathryn Skellorn QC “She is a fabulous advocate and has the ear of the court.”

Four of our barristers were recommended in The Legal 500 2015 editorial

34 of our barristers are listed in the “Leading juniors” list – a guide to outstanding juniors nationwide.

“All individuals in the practice management team are really helpful and commercial; they go the extra mile for instructing parties.” Legal 500, 2015


St John’s Chambers and Leslie Blohm QC Shortlisted for Bristol Law Society Awards.

St John’s Chambers and Leslie Blohm QC, have been shortlisted for the Bristol Law Leslie_Blohm_med_resSociety Chambers of the Year Award and Barrister of the Year Award 2015 respectively.

Nominations are judged by a panel selected by the President of Bristol Law Society Michael Gupwell. The panel will consider innovation in the provision of legal services and outstanding contribution to the profession and / or wider community. The winners will be announced at the Annual Awards Dinner on 15th October.

Susan Hunter, our Head of Chambers has said “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this years Chambers of the Year Award and congratulations to the other nominees.”

Leslie Blohm QC, Head of our Commercial and Chancery team, has said of his nomination: “I’m delighted to be shortlisted for the Barrister of the Year Award – which reflects not only my work in Bristol and the regions, but also the support and service from my friends and colleagues at Chambers. There is a lot of good work being done by many able barristers in Bristol, and so to be nominated by the Bristol Law Society for their award means a lot to me.”

For a full list of awards and nominees please visit the Bristol Law Society website

View Profile: Leslie Blohm QC