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.”

Latest Article from Patrick West | Asbestos and minimal risk: Is there a threshold?

Patrick WestPatrick West, a member of St John’s Chambers’ Personal Injury Team, provides readers with an article on occupational illnesses and the test of employer’s liability for common law negligence. Patrick refers to the case of Veronica Bussey (Widow & Executrix of the estate of David Edwin Anthony Bussey) v 00654701 LTD (Formerly Anglia Heating LTD) [2018] EWCA Civ 243.

“There are currently around 2,500 deaths from mesothelioma each year in the UK.” (NHS Choices website 2018)

Let that sink in. That means that in this country nearly 7 people a day are dying from the most devastating of all occupational illnesses. But it is perhaps not at all surprising given that mesothelioma can be caused by the victim ingesting only a single fibre of asbestos. In the case of Bussey the Court of Appeal has examined whether there is a narrow test for breach of duty following the findings in Williams v University of Birmingham [2011] EWCA Civ 1242 which appeared to establish a need for Claimants to show they were exposed to greater concentrations of asbestos fibres then the “safe” level set out in the TDN13 (March 1970 and January 1971 Technical Data Note 13 (TDN 13), Department of Employment and Productivity).

To continue reading full article please click the following link: Asbestos and minimal risk: Is there a threshold?

View profile: Patrick West

If you would like to instruct Patrick on a related matter please contact his clerks via email on 

Construction Adjudication: Grove, Smash and Grab, Cluedo, Mark Twain and Helen of Troy

Rebecca TaylorConstruction law specialists Andrew Kearney and Rebecca Taylor pat themselves on the back for predicting the obvious last year … but they did predict the killer and the weapon too… 
Mr Justice Coulson, in the Rolls Building, with a Part 8 dagger.

Last July – in our talks to the Adjudication Society – we foretold the demise of the Seevic decision, hinting that since the Court of Appeal was being unduly coy about it, a certain TCC Judge was going to kill it off when the chance arose …

Click here to download the full article

Natasha Dzameh to provide junior lawyers with guidance on instructing counsel and building relationships

Bristol Law Society’s “Barrister of the Year 2017”, Natasha Dzameh, will be speaking at the National JLD Forum in Bristol on 10 March 2018 to trainees, NQs and solicitors up to 5 years’ PQE. She will be providing guidance on instructing counsel and building relationships, focusing in particular on the factors to consider when drafting instructions and the components of a brief which may help or hinder counsel. Natasha is a member of the Commercial and Chancery Practice Group.

The forum is a free full day event involving presentations on a variety of legal practice and career management topics. It is designed to help junior lawyers understand current market place trends, navigate moves between firms and up the scale of seniority within firms, increase commercial awareness, learn about alternative legal careers and understand how to develop a career working abroad.

View profile: Natasha Dzameh

To book a place via the JLD: National JLD Forum

 If you would like to instruct Natasha as counsel on a commercial or chancery matter, or as a mediator, please contact her clerks on:  or 0117 923 4740


Friday 2 March | Bristol Snow Update

The Bristol Civil Justice Centre will not be sitting today Friday 2 March due to the adverse weather conditions.

Chambers is running a skeleton staff and is open until 1 pm today; we are picking up emails and mobile contact details can be found below:

  • Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Practice Groups Annette Bushell, Practice Manager 07710 463 258
  • Commercial and Chancery, Employment and Public & Administrative Practice Groups Rob Bocock, Practice Manager 07801 825 013
  • Family Practice Group Luke Hodgson, Practice Manager 07929 432 614
  • Chief Executive Derek Jenkins 07807 225 964
  • Office Manager Isabelle Mills 07779 906 327

Leslie Blohm QC | Farmer’s daughter recovers over a million pounds from her parents after a lifetime’s promises

Leslie Blohm QCLeslie Blohm QC, barrister within St John’s Chambers Commercial & Chancery Practice Group, was instructed by Stephens Scown LLP, represented Lucy Habberfield in her claim in the Chancery Division in Bristol against her mother for a share of her mother and father’s farm, relying on many promises said to have been made to her whilst she worked on the farm for low wages and for long hours.  After a five day trial, Mr. Justice Birss has awarded Ms. Habberfield a lump sum of £1,170,000 in respect of her claim.

The case shows the sort of matters that have to be proven to establish a claim based on informal promises, and how the Courts go about assessing an entitlement when such a claim is made out.

View the Judgement: Habberfield v Habberfield [2018] EWHC 317 (Ch)

View Profile: Leslie Blohm QC

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

St John’s Chambers delighted to announce Circuit Judge appointment of Susan Jacklin QC

Susan JacklinWe are delighted to announce that Susan Jacklin QC, Associate Member of our Family Practice Group, has been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to be a Circuit Judge to the South Eastern Circuit, based at West London County Court with effect from 12 March 2018.

Susan has specialised in family law for 20 years; called to the Bar in 1980; took Silk in 2006 and was appointed as a Recorder in 1999. She has vast experience of dealing with a wide range of people and cases, not just on the Western Circuit but in South Wales, London and Birmingham. Her practice includes the full range of family finance work and children. In private law disputes she is able to advise and represent clients on finance and children issues.  Clients value the continuity of relationship between the two forms of dispute.

We congratulate Her Honour Judge Jacklin QC on such an amazing achievement and wish her all the best in her new appointment.

St John’s Chambers raises £5,400 for Spinal Injuries Association Charity

Following the success of our SIA Conference and Drinks Reception in November 2017; sponsored by Renvilles and Nestor, we are pleased to announce that the funds raised through ticket sales, donations and the raffle reached £5,400. The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is the leading national user-led spinal cord injuries charity. Their belief is that everyone has a right to live a fulfilled life and that means the life that they choose, a life that has the same opportunities as everyone else.

The full day conference included talks from leading consultants, St John’s Chambers barristers and two members of the SIA. Delegates gave great feedback to include comments such as:

“Excellent conference, interesting and engaging seminars.”

“A really excellent speaker! Great content and analysis.”

Michael Clarke successful in application for High Court to exercise inherent jurisdiction to order the provision of a DNA sample in an estate dispute

Michael ClarkeCommercial and Chancery barrister Michael Clarke, a Member of our Wills, Trusts and Tax Team, was instructed by Paul Gordon, litigation partner at Willans LLP solicitors who specialises in inheritance & trust disputes, to represent the successful applicant.

The applicant and respondent are sisters and both claim to be the daughters of the deceased Colin Birtles. The applicant alleges the respondent is not the biological daughter of the deceased. In 2013 the deceased died intestate. The respondent extracted a grant of letters of administration and claimed an interest under the estate.

The applicant has brought a claim for revocation of the grant, a grant to her instead, a declaration that the respondent is not entitled to the estate and to set aside a transaction between the estate and the respondent. The applicant has sought the consent of the respondent to DNA testing but she has declined.

The respondent was born to her mother Veronica while she was married to the deceased and the deceased subsequently paid maintenance to Veronica for the respondent until the respondent was 16. The respondent argued that she could rely on the presumption of legitimacy and that the challenge to her parentage was simply hearsay and so the application was a fishing expedition.

The issue was whether the Court had jurisdiction to order the respondent to submit to DNA testing. It was accepted by the applicant that the provisions of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 did not apply and that there was no direct authority that a person could otherwise be ordered to submit to DNA testing in the circumstances of the case – there was authority that the Court may order samples already obtained to be tested (albeit on very different facts) but that is very different.

The Court held that “the inherent jurisdiction of the court extends to directing that a party to proceedings give a saliva sample by way of mouth swab for the purposes of establishing paternity in a case where paternity is in issue.”

In the event the respondent refuses an adverse inference may be drawn at trial. However the Court indicated that in an appropriate case, a refusal may result in a contempt of Court or the striking out of a statement of case.

Paul Gordon, litigation partner at Willans LLP solicitors adds; “This case is a further demonstration that the courts are showing a willingness to control evidence and recognise that scientific reports play a part in modern litigation. This is a case that would otherwise be decided upon competing witness evidence and an order for the provision of DNA testing is a useful and practical step in the process, particularly where it could lead to an early and cheap resolution to the case.”

View judgment: Janice Elizabeth Nield-Moir v Lorrraine Karen Freeman [2018] EWHC 299 (Ch)

View Profile: Michael Clarke

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

Christopher Sharp QC publishes Family Affairs Financial Remedy update Nov’ 17 – Feb ‘18

Christopher Sharp QC, Member of our Family Practice Group, publishes the first of his 2018 Financial Remedy updates written for the FLBA’s ‘Family Affairs’ magazine. He regularly reviews the more important recent financial remedy cases during the course of the year with termly updates. All updates are available to download from Christopher’s online website profile and have also been published within FLBA’s ‘Family Affairs’.

To view the full article please click the following link: Family Affairs February 2018 | Nov’ 17 – Feb ‘18 Edition | Financial Remedy update

If you would like to instruct Christopher on a related matter please contact his clerks: 0117 923 4720 or email