St John’s Bristol Property Litigation Conference hailed as a success

Leslie Blohm QCMembers of our property and real estate team spoke at our 3rd property litigation conference this month, held on 27th March 2014 at St John’s Chambers. In attendance were solicitors from BPE, Clarke Willmott LLP, Metcalfes, Mowbray Woodwards, Osborne Clark, Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP, along with many more.

The event was chaired by Leslie Blohm QC, and began with John Sharples explaining the new Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) rules. Charles Auld followed discussing the changes in the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry to the First tier Tribunal. Leslie then took to the stand and gave a practical guide on overage. The seminar concluded with Charlie Newington-Bridges covering what actually constitutes a breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment, the meaning of substantial interference and the remedies available in the event of breach.

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

For further information about our property and real estate team, please visit this page.

Application forms and lawful uses: latest article from Peter Wadsley

Peter WadsleyPeter Wadsley, head of our public and administrative practice group has recently published an article on application forms and lawful uses for the Local Government Lawyer Website.

The High Court recently considered whether a local planning authority had, under s. 191(4) of the TCPA 199 acted lawfully by substituting the lawful use of another description for that claimed in the application form. Peter Wadsley considers the case.

View article: Application forms and lawful uses

View profile: Peter Wadsley

Guy Adams appears in High Court in valuable property dispute in Line v Baker anor

Guy AdamsGuy Adams, member of our commercial and chancery practice group has been instructed by Stephens Scown Solicitors in the case of Line v Baker anor, a most unusual dispute over the ownership of a valuable property in Falmouth.

This case was tried this week in the High Court in London, where Guy acted for the claimant, Miss Line.  A variety of allegations had been made over many years by the defendants, who claimed that their father’s estate was not properly administered in the early 1960s.  The claimant seeks a negative declaration that the defendants have no interest whatsoever in relation to the property.

The case was originally referred to the High Court by the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry because it raised matters of company law.  Issues relating to the transfer of shares, limitation of actions, acquiescence, laches and abuse of process were canvassed at trial.  Judgment has been reserved.

View profile: Guy Adams

St John’s Chambers announce winner for the Bristol Venus ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award

St John’s Chambers announced its winner for the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award on Friday, 21st March at the Bristol Venus Awards’ Ceremony, at the Royal Marriott Hotel. Chambers sponsored this award in recognition of the valuable entrepreneurial achievements of women. The evening was hosted by Heart’s radio presenter Paulina Gillespie and founder of the Venus Awards, Tara Howard. Award category sponsors Natwest, along with other sponsors including Heart Global, Spire Hospital, ‘Women outside the box’ and Stone & Co Chartered Accountants all attended this prestigious event.

Venus Awards Winner

(left-right) Rose Kemery (St John’s Chambers) Jane Duffus (What the Frock!) Derek Jenkins (St John’s Chambers) Hemali Modha (Ambulet Boutique) Richard Stead (St John’s Chambers) Sam Hawkins (Hawkins and Co)

Hemali Modha, owner of Amulet Boutique in Cotham was crowned the winner for the ability to identify great business opportunities and come up with innovative ideas making her a fantastic business entrepreneur. Our other two finalists, Jane Duffus of What the Frock!  and Sam Hawkins of Hawkins and Company were also great contenders and came joint runners up!

For more information about the Venus Awards, please visit Venus Awards website.


Leslie Blohm QC appointed to the editorial board of The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer

Leslie Blohm QCThe Conveyancer and Property Lawyer has for almost a hundred years been recognised as the most authoritative journal specialising in the law and practice of conveyancing and allied topics.

We are delighted to announce that St Johns’ real property expert Leslie Blohm QC has been appointed to its editorial board, joining (amongst others) The Chancellor Sir Terence Etherton, Professor Elizabeth Cooke, The Honourable Mr Justice David Hayton and Martin Rodger QC, under the general editorship of Dr Martin Dixon of Queen’s College Cambridge.

Notwithstanding the passage of the Growth and Infrastructure Act in 2013, Town and Village Greens continues to be one of the most prominent areas of land law concerning the courts, with two cases (Newhaven and Barkas) about to be heard by the Supreme Court.  In the most recent issue of The Conveyancer ([2014], issue 1) Leslie discusses in an article the present state of a topic of particularly current relevance for communities, local authorities and developers – the By Right doctrine.

View profile: Leslie Blohm QC

Property barristers host property litigation conference in Cardiff

Members of our property and real estate team spoke at the property litigation conference held on 18th March 2014 at the Marriott Hotel, Cardiff. In attendance were solicitors from Capital Law LLP, Eversheds, Harding Evans, Hugh James, MLM Cartwright, Thomas Simon Solicitors, along with many more.

property litigation conference cardiff 2014

The event was chaired by Charles Auld, and began with Leslie Blohm QC talking about Section 2 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. John Sharples followed explaining the new Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) rules. Charles then took to the stand with a talk that focused on the common requirements for exercising break clauses. The seminar concluded with Leslie discussing the jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) over restrictive covenants, and its inter-relationship with planning.

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

For further information about our property and real estate team, please visit this page.

Emma Zeb represents Bristol City Council at the Sean Phillips inquest

Emma ZebEmma Zeb, member of our personal injury and clinical negligence teams represented Bristol City Council on 12 March 2014 at the inquest of Sean Phillips.

On 12 March HM Coroner Maria Voisin held an inquest into the death of Sean Phillips who died in a cycling accident outside the M-shed museum in Bristol on 6 March 2013 when he was caused to come off his bike and fall into the harbour. Emma represented Bristol City Council at the hearing where the Coroner considered the safety of the harbourside area for cyclists at this location which is owned and managed by the City Council.  A number of issues including provision of quay edge railings, signage and the presence of the heritage train and crane tracks in the area were explored at the hearing.  HM Coroner found that Mr. Phillips’ death was accidental. If you would like to discuss this or any other case please Emma or contact her clerks on 0117 923 4730.

View profile: Emma Zeb

Failing to mediate in financial remedy cases: potential costs implications

Julia BelyavinJulia Belyavin, a member of our family mediation team looks at the recent case, in which Mostyn J handed down his decision in Mann v Mann [2014] EWHC 537 (Fam). It held that where a party has agreed to mediate the court can adjourn for that purpose and make an order highlighting the potential costs implications of reneging on the agreement to mediate.

Mr and Mrs Mann had originally resolved their financial affairs by consent in 1999.  Following cross-applications to vary, Charles J made a further order in 2005 varying the 1999 order.  The husband sought to appeal this order and the parties then participated in the Court of Appeal mediation scheme, which resulted in a consent order.  It was a term of this new consent order that if the husband didn’t make a payment, the original order revived.  This happened, and (in 2010) the wife then issued a statutory demand seeking payment and interest.  A further agreement was then reached in November 2011, which included a detailed agreement to mediate by 31.01.12.  Mediation did not occur, and Mostyn J concluded each party bore responsibility for that failure.

Mostyn J noted that there are distinctions between the Civil Procedure Rules, which allow the court to adjourn cases for mediation/ADR even in the absence of the parties’ agreement, and the Family Procedure Rules, which only allow such an adjournment when the parties agree (it can adjourn to enable the parties to obtain information and advice about ADR in the absence of agreement).

However, Mostyn J was satisfied that it was open to him to make an order that the party who considered the case unsuitable for ADR should be prepared to justify the decision and that costs implications could flow from that decision (an Ungley order, named after Master Ungley who introduced them).

All of which goes to show that not only is mediation likely to be quicker, cheaper and less emotionally draining than litigation, but that costs benefits can apply within litigation if necessary.  Good practice in appropriate cases could well involve an open letter to the other side inviting them to mediate.

Please contact Elaine Jewell-Moore on 0117 923 4708 or e-mail: to find out more about the St John’s Chambers Family Mediation Team.

John Dickinson successful in High Court trial over share purchase dispute

John DickinsonJohn Dickinson, member of our commercial dispute resolution team, has recently obtained judgment for the claimant following a High Court trial in the Bristol Mercantile Court before Recorder Blunt QC in the case of  Rowena Mary Elizabeth Williams (As Executor Of The Estate Of William Stanley Batters Deceased) v Gregory John Jones reported on Lawtel reference LTL 7/3/2014 document number AC0140753.

John acted for the executor of the estate of the deceased minority shareholder who had agreed to sell his shareholding to the majority shareholder. The Judge held that an oral agreement for the arrangement of the share-sale transaction was a complete and binding agreement. Although the parties had intended that it should be recorded by a formal written document that they were to sign, they had not intended that their oral agreement should be “subject to contract”.

View profile: John Dickinson

Court of Appeal decision in Pillar Denton v Jervis: latest article from Christopher Jones

Christoper JonesChristopher Jones, member of our property and real estate team has today published a briefing note on the recent Court of Appeal decision in Pillar Denton v Jervis [2014] EWCA Civ 180.

The Court considered the treatment of rent payable in advance by a corporate tenant in administration and, specifically, whether that rent was no more than a provable debt in the administration or an expense of the administration. Christopher looks at how significant this decision is for commercial landlords.

Download article: Pillar Denton v Jervis

View profile: Christopher Jones