Chambers raises over £5,500 for Headway from Brain Injury Conference

Last week Chambers hosted a successful drinks reception and brain injury rehabilitation conference, raising over £5,500 for UK’s national brain injury charity Headway.

The drinks reception, sponsored by Frenkel Topping was held at the Marriott Royal Hotel on 30th October, attended by over 50 guests including solicitors from Clarke Willmott, Irwin Mitchell, Metcalfes, Morgan Cole, Fentons and Foot Anstey. Guests had the opportunity to meet members of the Headway team, as well as learning more about the charity’s recent activities and the people driving them.

The following day, the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Conference, sponsored by Irwin Mitchell was held attracting over 150 legal practitioners throughout the UK for the second year.  St John’s leading Personal Injury barrister Tim Grice chaired this full day conference focused on brain injury rehabilitation. Returning speaker Dr Holloway, leading Consultant Neuropsychiatrist launched the conference with a discussion on rehabilitation pathways after traumatic brain injury. Christopher Sharp QC covered case management law and practice and Head of Chambers Richard Stead spoke on hot topics in brain injury litigation.

St John’s Chambers would like to say a big thank you to all those who supported us in raising much needed funds for our chosen charity.

Bristol becomes a regional centre for the Administrative Court

At a ceremony presided over by the Rt Honourable Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, the Administrative Court at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre today was officially opened. The first case to be heard was before a 3 judge divisional court:  Thomas LJ; Beatson and Burnett JJ.

Robin Tolson QC responding on behalf of the bar and solicitors and welcoming the judges to Bristol,  stressed the vital need for local practitioners to use the service, stating: “There was simply no need to go further afield and significant disadvantages in doing so.”

The arrival of the Administrative Court has been long anticipated, having been originally overlooked when regionalisation was first proposed.  Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Birmingham were listed in the 2007 report “Justice Outside London”,  however under the  command of Tony Woodburn, Western Circuit and Bristol Law Society launched a bid to include Bristol as a late addition.

After first winning approval and the backing of the then QBD President, Sir Anthony May, the plans were affected by cuts to the HM Courts’ Service budgets.   With the backing of local solicitors and the bar, along with great efforts by the Presiding Judges of the Western Circuit, Bristol is now up and running as a regional centre.

At the opening ceremony Sir John emphaised the advantages of using Bristol for all South West cases. The court, especially during its initial phase, was highly likely to offer a much faster service with hearing times being less than those in London or Cardiff.

Our Administrative Law Team would be happy to explain how the new jurisdiction will work in practice.

Chambers UK 2013 identify St John’s Chambers as a leading set

St John’s Chambers is listed in 15 major areas of law in the 2013 edition of Chambers UK.

This position clearly illustrates that St John’s has earned its reputation as a leading multi disciplinary set, this success follows on from Chambers being awarded “Chambers of the Year” for the third consecutive year at the Bristol Law Society annual awards.

To view the latest recommendations, please click here.

Financial Remedies: Nicholas v Nicholas no longer good law

Petrodel Resources Ltd et al v Yasmin Aishatu Mohammed Prest et al [2012] EWCA Civ 1395

In this very significant decision by a majority of the Court of Appeal dealing with the ability of the Court in financial remedy cases to make orders directly against the assets of a company that is the alter ego of one spouse to satisfy the entitlement of the other, Nicholas v Nicholas (1984) FLR 285 has not been followed and all the decisions following it have been held to be wrong.

Christopher Sharp QC, member of our Family Finance Team reviews the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Download article: Financial Remedies: Nicholas v Nicholas no longer good law

Natural Justice and Adjudicators’ Fees

Yesterday (23 October 2012), the Court of Appeal overturned a controversial TCC decision from last year, which required the parties to pay an Adjudicator his fee – despite his decision being reached in breach of the rules of natural justice and therefore unenforceable.

Rebecca Taylor and Andrew Kearney, members of our Building Construction and Engineering Team explain the issues and review the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Download article: Natural Justice and Adjudicators Fees
View: Andrew Kearney’s profile and Rebecca Taylor’s profile

4 Junior Counsel to the Crown Appointments

We are pleased to announce that 4 members of our Personal Injury Team have been appointed by the Attorney-General to serve as Junior Counsel to the Crown to undertake work on behalf of the Government in their various specialist areas.

  1. Matthew White has been Junior Counsel to the Crown since 2002 and has been re-appointed again (this time until 2017).
  2. Anna Symington has served one term (since 2007) and has been reappointed until 2017
  3. Tom Leeper has been Junior Counsel to the Crown since 2001 and has been re-appointed again (this time until 2017).
  4.  Andrew McLaughlin has been appointed to serve until 2017

If you would like any further information, please contact their clerks. 

St John’s awarded ‘Chambers of the Year’ once again

St John’s has been awarded ‘Chambers of the Year’ for the third consecutive year at the Bristol Law Society’s Annual Awards 2012/13.

This prestigious award was recently announced at the Law Society’s annual glittering awards dinner and presented by the Society’s President Nick Dell to our Chief Executive, Derek Jenkins and Head of Chambers Richard Stead.

This award clearly highlights St John’s is a leading set in the South West, showing our dedication and commitment to the legal profession and wider community.

Ashley Palminteri, Acting Deputy President of Bristol Law Society says: “it is a notable achievement that St John’s Chambers have won this award for the last three years. They continue to excel and demonstrate a remarkable ability to maintain the highest standards.”

Unlawful killing verdicts in RTA inquests

Emma ZebEmma Zeb, member of our Personal Injury Team summarises the High Court’s guidance on using unlawful killing verdicts in RTA inquests.

The High Court have provided guidance on whether it is appropriate for a verdict of unlawful killing to be returned in an inquest  where there is evidence that death was caused by the offence of causing death by dangerous or careless driving.

R (on the application of Sophie Wilkinson) v HM Coroner for Greater Manchester South District & Wendy Livesley [2012] EWHC 2755

There has for some time been a conflict amongst Coroner’s as to whether evidence that a driver has committed the offence of causing death by dangerous driving contrary to section 2 B of the Road Traffic Act 1988 is sufficient to justify a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest.  The High Court have for now settled the dispute.

In brief the circumstances of the accident that lead to the inquest are that whilst driving on the M60 in snowy and icy weather conditions Ms Wilkinson’s vehicle spun out of control and struck a stationary vehicle on the motorway hard shoulder.  In the process a vehicle recovery technician working on the stationary vehicle was killed.  There was no criminal prosecution against Ms Wilkinson.  At the inquest the Coroner directed the Jury that they could return a verdict of unlawful killing if they were sure that the offence of causing death by dangerous driving had been committed.

Following a Judicial Review of the matter the High Court handed down Judgment on 11 October 2012 to the effect that the verdict of unlawful killing should be restricted to murder, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide.  Cases of bad driving having caused death should only be regarded as unlawful killing for the purposes of an inquest if they satisfy the ingredients for manslaughter (gross negligence manslaughter).  It is worth noting therefore that the present guidance on this issue in Jervis (12th edition 2002) remains sound.

The judgment is reported at [2012] EWHC 2755 and is available here.

Emma Zeb

View: Emma Zeb’s profile

Lucy Reed wins Family Law Readers’ Commentary Award

Congratulations to Lucy Reed, member our Family Practice Group, who has been awarded the Family Law Readers’ Commentary Award at the Family Law Awards 2012.

Lucy was presented with this award at the awards ceremony last night which was held  at the London Hilton hotel in recognition of her “entertaining and informative” family law blog Pink Tape. Lucy was also shortlisted for Most Innovative Family Lawyer for the second year running.

View: Lucy Reed’s profile

Maintaining your stake in a partnership: latest article from Martha Maher

Martha MaherMartha Maher,  member of our Partnership Team has recently written an article for the UK’s leading medical weekly publication Pulse.

Martha looks to other professions for examples of ways a GP can hang on to a stake in partnership if he or she feels pushed out.

Download article: Maintaining your stake in a partnership
View: Martha Maher’s profile