St John’s rankings keep climbing as we are named a leading set in Chambers UK 2015

St John’s Chambers is very proud to announce that we have again received excellent feedback from our clients in the 2015 edition of Chambers UK. This edition also included praise for our clerking teams. This excellent achievement has resulted in a record 67 recommendations in the 18 areas of law listed below.

Administrative and Public Law
Agriculture and Rural affairs
Clinical Negligence
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Family / Matrimonial
Health and Safety
Motor Insurance Fraud
Personal Injury
Professional Negligence
Real Estate
Restructuring Insolvency

Chambers has been listed in the ‘leading sets by highest number of rankings’ section of the guide. We are described as;

“St John’s has a broad range of specialist areas and a deep bench of barristers. It is one of the leading chambers in the South West but such is its quality it “can match itself with London sets,” according to commentators. The team is known for its ability across ar­eas as diverse as real estate litigation, part­nership and family law, and is “the first port of call for licensing and planning.” It is also “head and shoulders above the other sets in Bristol when it comes to chancery work.” Leslie Blohm QC is a standout silk here, with one interviewee noting: “He is excellent and extremely intelligent. He al­ways gives clear advice in good time.” The strength of the set’s barristers is matched by its clerking team, with interviewees stating that “the clerks, led by practice manager Robert Bocock, are great and really help­ful. They are efficient and have never fallen short of expectations.”

To view the latest recommendations, please click here

St John’s welcomes new pupils Joss, Philip and Robert

Chambers is very pleased to announce that Joss Knight, Philip Robson and Robert Mills have joined us as Pupils.

Joss Knight 2Joss will initially be working within our Commercial and Chancery team and will be supervised by James Pearce-Smith. Joss, originally from the Lake District, applied for a pupillage with St John’s after an “extremely positive” mini-pupillage experience and is looking to gain experience across a broad range of commercial and chancery matters. Joss is a keen outdoorsman, enjoying fishing and hiking and plays a wide variety of sports, namely cricket and squash.

Philip Robson 1Philip will also be working within our Commercial and Chancery team and will be supervised by Peter Wadsley. Philip has a background in the Home Office and Foreign Office, most recently in Afghanistan and East Africa. Philip pursued a public law pupillage with “the opportunity to learn from highly recommended practitioners across a wide range of subject areas”. Outside of work Philip spends his time brushing up on his French and worrying that Liverpool will never again win the league.

Robert Mills 1Robert will be working within our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence teams and will be supervised by Tim Grice and Vanessa McKinlay. “The opportunity to change the lives of individuals” is what appeals to Robert about the Bar. He chose a pupillage with St John’s due to our reputation as a strong personal injury and clinical negligence set. In his spare time Robert enjoys good food and drink, politics and is an active member of his local church.



‘The way we are’: accessing the court after LASPO – latest article from Judi Evans

Judi EvansJudy_Evans-300x198, a member of our children’s team, talks about the creation of a pilot scheme in Bristol to help litigants in person in her latest article available from Family Law.

The aim of this scheme is to reinforce the accessibility of our system of justice. Following the legal aid changes in April 2013 most litigants in private law proceedings appear without legal representation. This Pilot scheme put into place by Judi, HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC and Claire Wills Goldingham QC of Albion Chambers involves the collaboration of six voluntary agencies working together to help litigants without legal representation.

Download article: ‘The Way we are’: accessing the court after LASPO

View profile: Judi Evans

St John’s One Day Money Conference hailed as a success

Christopher SharpMembers of our Family finance, ToLATA and inheritance team, spoke at our One Day Money conference held on 16th October 2014 at the M-Shed museum, Bristol. Over 60 delegates attended including solicitors from Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Barcan Woodward, Davies and Partners and Withy King, along with many more.

The event was chaired by Christopher Sharp QC, and began with Sir Paul Coleridge speaking on ADR, FDR, Mediation and Medi-Arb. Christopher Sharp followed with an update on procedure and cases on capital (lump sums and property). Andrew Commins then took to the stand to provide an update on the developing jurisdiction of legal services orders post-LASPO and a review of the recent case law relating to the payment and capitalisation of orders for periodical payments. After lunch Nick Miller held an interactive session on Joinder and common drafting mistakes in orders. This was followed by a talk from David Birkett of Crystal Wealth Management on the reality of mortgage borrowing, asset investment and recent changes in pensions. The conference concluded with Zoe Saunders taking a look at trusts in financial remedies post-Petrodel and top tips for dealing with intervenors, procedures and precedents.

You can download a copy of some of these notes below:

For further information about our family finance, ToLATA and inheritance team, please click here

Andrew McLaughlin successfully represents the defendant in the Court of Appeal in work-related stress case

Andrew McLaughlinAndrew McLaughlin, head of our industrial disease team successfully represents the defendant in the Court of Appeal in the work-related stress case of Coventry University v Mian [2014] EWCA Civ 1275.

Andrew was instructed by Matthew Harrington of BLM solicitors Cardiff on behalf of QBE Insurance in this successful appeal against a decision of HHJ Barrie that the university was liable to Dr Mian, a senior lecturer, for work-related stress.

The claimant, Dr. Mian was a longstanding senior academic at Coventry University. In March 2007 Greenwich University contacted Coventry University in relation to a reference it had received concerning a member of staff  it employed who had proven to be unsatisfactory. The reference, which purported to come from the claimant, was false in a number of respects. Dr. Mian denied being the author of the reference and on inspection it was noted that the signature on the letter did not match her own.

An investigation led by an Associate Dean of Dr Mian’s faculty, uncovered three other similar false references on her computer hard drive for the same former staff member. It also established Greenwich had probably written to her directly to request the reference. When interviewed Dr. Mian claimed her post had been intercepted and that the member of staff had created the false references and uploaded them onto her computer. She said these false references were then shown to her but she had refused to use them.

Coventry University instigated disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Mian charging her with gross misconduct viz complicity in the preparation of false references, allegations which she denied. The hearing which was due to take place to in April 2007 was delayed for various reasons until November. Dr Mian did not attend but submitted written responses to the allegations. Dr. Mian was acquitted at the disciplinary hearing and she sued the University for instigating gross misconduct proceedings claiming they should never have been brought and for the delays before the November hearing.

HHJ Barrie dismissed her complaint about the delay but found a proper investigation had not been carried out  and therefore the charge was unjustified meaning the University were in breach of contract and in breach of duty. Quantum was adjourned but damages of more than £300,000 were claimed. The University appealed.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Andrew that the test was whether a reasonable employer would have considered there was a reasonable basis for the charge and that on the evidence this was clearly the case. They also agreed a deeper investigation would not have affected the outcome therefore it was still reasonable to instigate the disciplinary proceedings. They agreed the judge’s decision was plainly wrong on the facts.

Download judgment: Coventry University v Mian

St John’s Chambers organise charity ball in aid of Headway Bristol

St John’s Chambers hosted an extremely successful black-tie charity ball on Friday 26th September at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel, raising a fantastic sum of £5,000, for Headway Bristol.

Headway provides social and cognitive rehabilitation services for adults with brain injury and support for families and carers. Sponsored by NewLaw Solicitors, the event attracted over 185 legal professionals throughout the South West who enjoyed a champagne reception, three course dinner and live entertainment by Limited Edition.

Charity and auction prizes were generously donated by local businesses; Nick Agg-Manning offered his time as Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer, and local company Scott Law kindly printed the event programmes.

Earlier this year we also organised a golf day at The Bristol Golf Club sponsored by Haines Watt Accountants which raised £4,200, bringing the total monies to-date to £9,200 for this worthy cause.

We would particularly like to say a big thank you to all those who supported us in raising much needed funds for our chosen charities.

Leslie Blohm QC and Alex Troup speak at Bristol Law Society’s Private Client Conference

Leslie Blohm QCMembers of our wills, trusts and probate team spoke at Bristol Law Society’s Annual Private Client Conference on Tuesday, 30th September at Clarke Willmott LLP. In attendance were solicitors from Hugh James, Osborne Clarke, Thrings, Wards along with many more. This event was sponsored by Citimark Partnership and Scott Law.

Alex TroupThe conference kicked off with HHJ McCahill QC speaking on The Bristol Chancery Court. Leslie Blohm QC spoke about a current trend in agricultural property disputes in ‘farms and estoppel – the new growth area’,  whilst Alex Troup reviewed the latest developments in an update on wills and capacity, with particular reference to Simon v Byford [2014] EWCA Civ 280 and Re Meek [2014] EWCOP 1.

 You can download a copy of these notes below:

Expert evidence and the removal of a child to a non-Hague Convention country: latest publication from Abigail Bond

Abigail BondAbigail Bond, member of our children’s team has published an article on expert evidence and the removal of a child to a non-Hague Convention country for Lexis Nexis.

Abigail looks at the court’s approach to an application to remove a child to a non-Hague Convention country and the difficulties in funding the appointed expert.

Download article: Expert evidence and the removal of a child to a non-Hague Convention country

View profile: Abigail Bond

Robin Tolson QC shortlisted for ‘Silk of the Year’ at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2014

RTolson_sliderRobin Tolson QC one of our leading children and family law specialists has been shortlisted for ‘Silk of the year’ (Regional and Scottish) at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2014.

This clearly illustrates our reputation to provide high quality legal advice and expertise in family matters; with a team of five nationally renowned silks, Christopher Sharp QC, Susan Jacklin QC, Kathryn Skellorn QC and Frances Judd QC, and 22 juniors, has become a demonstrable alternative to the London sets.

The winners will be announced at 10.00 am on 8 October 2014. The full list of firms, sets and silks is available at

The awards are based on the opinions of the 250,000 in-house lawyers Legal 500 contact throughout the year, and in-depth research into law firms carried out by their team

At an exclusive dinner in central London hosted by The Legal 500, the winners will have the opportunity to meet with each other, network and celebrate their success. Entry to the dinner will be strictly limited to the winners of the awards by invitation of The Legal 500.

View profile: Robin Tolson QC

Legal 500 identify St John’s Chambers as a top tier set

“St John’s Chambers is ‘a very professional set’, with ‘an excellent spread of barristers’, who ‘can be relied upon to come back to you with solid, comprehensive advice’ across a range of disciplines.” Legal 500 (2014)

UK_top_tier_set_2014We are delighted to announce that we have been recommended as a top-tier set, and listed in the eight main areas of law in the 2014 edition of Legal 500.

This year we have seen an increase in the number of our rankings in the directory, from 43 in 2013 to 52 in 2014. This clearly illustrates the reputation of St John’s to provide high quality legal advice and expertise.

Five of our QCs are listed in the “Leading silks” list, and Robin Tolson QC has been shortlisted for ‘Silk of the Year’ (Regional and Scottish) at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2014.

  • Leslie Blohm QC – “A leading commercial and Chancery barrister.”
  • Christopher Sharp QC  – “A first-class strategist, who monitors the detail as well as the bigger picture.”
  • Kathryn Skellorn QC – “Excellent knowledge of medico-legal issues.”
  • Robin Tolson QC – “A leading specialist in family and children law, with a national reputation.”
  • Susan Jacklin QC – “Client friendly, and experienced in both finance and children work.”

Seven of our barristers are recommended in The Legal 500 2014 editorial:

35 of our barristers are listed in the “Leading juniors” within their specialist areas:  

“The clerking team is highly efficient and extremely helpful.” Legal 500 (2014)

Please contact our clerks, should you require any further assistance.