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
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 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  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
We 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.
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
Commercial 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 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, 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
Commercial and chancery barrister Natasha Dzameh, a member of our Wills, Trusts and Tax Team, has recently written an article concerning the 2017 case of Gregory & Wilkins v Ziuzina, Pring & Pring heard in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division at the Rolls Building. Natasha was instructed as junior to Leslie Blohm QC. They represented the Second and Third Defendants (family members of the deceased and beneficiaries under the intestacy rules) who provided permission for this article to be written due to the ongoing status of the litigation.
This case concerns an allegation that a British millionaire was unlawfully killed in the Ukraine such that the forfeiture rule should be invoked to deprive a beneficiary who would otherwise profit under the intestacy rules. This hearing addressed the interaction between civil proceedings and a pending inquest insofar as case management is concerned.
Natasha’s article outlines the decision reached and briefly considers the impact of this case for practitioners who find themselves in the unusual situation of acting in civil proceedings where an inquest is pending. This article was first published in the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal (March 2018) and is available at lawjournals.co.uk.
For the full article please see the link below.
Read the full article: When to distribute
View profile: Natasha Dzameh
If you would like to instruct Natasha on a commercial or chancery matter, please contact her clerks: or 0117 923 4740
Patrick West, a member of St John’s Chambers’ Personal Injury team, provides readers with an article on the recent case of Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire  regarding a lady who was knocked over during an arrest and later sued for personal injury in negligence.
Everyone who has passed through law school will remember the case about the snail in the ginger beer. Poor old Mrs Donoghue. A smaller number will recall Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman  2 AC 605, a much drier case all about accountants. The latest inheritor of tortious principles is poor Mrs Robinson, knocked down in a busy shopping street by a group of policemen arresting a drug dealer. Since 1990 we should all have been reasonably clear about duty of care and when it arises. But many of us including, it appears, the Court of Appeal, are beset with “uncertainty and confusion” about it.
To continue reading full article please click button below.
Download full article: It’s a fair cop: Supreme Court reviews duty of care
View profile: Patrick West
If you would like to instruct Patrick on a related matter please contact his clerks via email on
Yesterday; Tuesday 6 February 2018, our Family Finance Team along with a Member from our Commercial & Chancery Team and two external speakers from Tanners and Milsted Langdon spoke at our ‘Constructive use of business structures in Financial Remedy Proceedings’ full day conference at the NOVOTEL City Centre, Bristol.
The day comprised of discussions on cases in which one or both of the partners in a divorce own a business and dealt with such issues as whether it is possible for both parties to continue to run the business after divorce using dividends to pay maintenance, shareholders’ agreements and S.31 (7A to 7F) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The talks encompassed in the day as presented by our speakers included: “But it’s my business (and always has been)”; So how should I structure my limited company or LLP?; Businesses in financial relief proceedings; Shareholder Agreements, Unfair Prejudice and Derivative Actions; Making divorce less taxing; Nuptial and Marital Agreements.
St John’s Chambers speakers included: Christopher Sharp QC, Nick Miller, Zoë Saunders, Charlie Newington-Bridges and our two guest speakers; Simon Denton, Partner at Milsted Langdon and Peter Marrow, Partner at Tanners Solicitors. We were delighted to be able to open the conference to both solicitors and accountants as talks included information and updates on eventual sharing of the sale proceeds of a business combined with cessation of maintenance.
Delegates gave excellent feedback including:
“Very helpful day thank you – linking those areas and highlighting this was really useful.”
“Great thank you! Really useful and very well thought through as a comprehensive day’s course.”
“Excellent – well worth the trip from South Wales!”
You can follow the live tweets from the day by searching #SJCFamily2018 on Twitter.