Articles & Publications

Williams v Simm PT-2020-MAN-000048

27th January 2021

Oliver Wooding, a member of St John’s Chambers’ Property team successfully appeared and obtained summary judgment on behalf of professional receivers appointed under a fixed charge against a building development site. A dispute arose between the lenders and receivers, and the borrowers, following failures by the borrowers to repay the sums lent to them as trustees of a family trust. The borrowers denied the validity of the receivers’ appointment and of the underlying charge, and argued that there had been an oral variation of any underlying agreement.

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Subsidy control in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2021

11th January 2021

With the expiry of the Brexit transitional period on 31 December 2020, the EU state aid rules have (with limited exceptions, chiefly related to Northern Ireland) ceased to apply in the United Kingdom. They have been replaced by the subsidy control provisions of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded on Christmas Eve.

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KK v Leeds CC & DK [2020] EWCOP 64

21st December 2020

Barrister: Sophie Smith-Holland
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: This was a decision of Cobb J in which he considered the rules relating to joinder in Court of Protection Proceedings and the correct procedure in circumstances where the existing parties resist joinder of an applicant, but for reasons which are not openly stated.

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Helping catch an escaped horse: moral duty or voluntary assumption of risk?

14th December 2020

Justin Valentine, counsel for the claimant, discusses the recent case Wiencek v Cope where the claimant was seriously injured whilst helping catch an escaped horse “Rebel”.  Liability was disputed primarily on the basis that the claimant was a knowing volunteer.  The case illustrates the complexity of claims involving animals but confirms that where a claimant is acting out of a sense of moral or civic duty, then liability can be established.

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Bell v Tavistock [2020] EWHC 3274 (Admin)

8th December 2020

Barrister: Sarah Phillimore
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: Judicial review of the practice of prescribing puberty suppressing drugs to persons under the age of 18 who experience gender dysphoria. Dame Victoria Sharp P., Lord Justice Lewis, Lieven J handed down judgment on 1st December 2020. The case involved a claim for judicial review of the practice of the defendant, through its Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), of prescribing puberty suppressing drugs to persons under the age of 18 who experience gender dysphoria; a condition where persons experience distress because of a mismatch between their perceived identity and their sex at birth. Such drugs have been prescribed for children as young as 10 years old.

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H v An Adoption Agency (Declaration of Parentage following Adoption) [2020] EWFC 74

30th November 2020

Barrister: Sophie Smith-Holland
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: Mr Justice MacDonald determined that the court has jurisdiction pursuant to s.55A(1) of the Family Law Act 1986 to grant a declaration of parentage to a birth parent of a child who had been lawfully adopted. The court referred a number of points to the Family Procedure Rules Committee for their consideration as when the rules set out in Part 8 of the FPR 2010 were drafted, it might not have been appreciated that this was possible, as well as that in some cases, it may be appropriate to grant such a declaration.

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No QOCS shield for claimant’s in pre-issue applications: definition of “proceedings” for CPR r.44.13

24th November 2020

Patrick West looks at the latest case arising from the failure of the Rules Committee to provide a conclusive definition of the word “proceedings” in QOCS cases and a decision which may expose personal injury claimants to costs orders in pre-action applications.

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Re P (Discharge of Passport Order) [2020] EWHC 3009 (Fam)

23rd November 2020

Family barrister Lucy Reed writes judgment on case: Re P (Discharge of Passport Order) [2020] EWHC 3009 (Fam). The proceedings concerned a 2 ½ year old child (pseudonym Maria), whose mother is Bulgarian, and whose father is a dual Bulgarian / British national. The family had lived in England for many years but at the time of the hearing the mother and child were in Bulgaria, the mother having been prohibited from travelling with the child by orders made on the father’s application in Bulgaria.

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Prospective Adopters v Sheffield City Council [2020] EWHC 2783 (Fam)

9th November 2020

Barrister: Abigail Bond
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: Application by prospective adopters for an injunction requiring the Local Authority to return one of the children to their care – issue as to whether or not the prospective adopters had already given notice under section 35 (1) ACA 2002 of their wish to return the child – whether a Local Authority wishing to terminate a placement with prospective adopters is required to give notice under s.35(2) if the child is not living with the adopters but has been returned to the Local Authority for a period of respite care.

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Financial remedy update Autumn 2020

29th October 2020

Christopher Sharp QC, member of our Family & Divorce team, publishes the Autumn edition of his 2020 financial remedies update 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 here, and have also been published within FLBA’s ‘Family Affairs’.

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Y (Leave to Oppose Adoption), Re [2020] EWCA Civ 1287

21st October 2020

Barrister: Sophie Smith-Holland
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: This was an appeal made by a local authority against a decision of HHJ Wicks in adoption proceedings concerning a child, Y (aged 2 years and 8 months). HHJ Wicks had granted Y’s parents leave to oppose the making of an adoption order. The appeal was dismissed. Of wider interest is the fact that this was the first remote hearing before the Court of Appeal involving litigants with hearing difficulties. The court referred the matter to the President and MacDonald J to consider whether the guidance on the conduct of remote and hybrid hearings needs amendment to address the difficulties faced by disabled litigants in general and those with hearing loss in particular.

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Re H Interim Care Scottish Residential Placement [2020] EWHC 2780 (Fam)

20th October 2020

Barrister: Julia Belyavin
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: H is 15 and has been in local authority care since August 2019, initially under s20 and, since 15.06.2020, under an interim care order.  Prior to that he had been in his father’s care under a residence order.  After 2 short-term unregulated placements, H was placed in a children’s home in South Lanarkshire, Scotland (“the home”). 

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Amendments to costs budgeting rules

2nd October 2020

As of 1st October 2020 several amendments to costs’ budgeting rules and the related Practice Direction come into force. In this article Justin Valentine reviews those changes and offers some practical advice as to their likely effect.

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Commercial newsletter Summer 2020 edition

24th September 2020

Barrister: John Dickinson, Nick Pointon, Natasha Dzameh, Annie Sampson & Georgina Thompson
Source: St John’s Chambers
Summary: This issue features seven different articles which focus on various recent points of interest within the commercial and insolvency sphere. The articles cover everything from furlough to ferraris and include the write-up of a notable case in which a member of our specialist Commercial team acted and advised.

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Child support, coronavirus and changes in circumstances

18th September 2020

Barrister: Jody Atkinson
Source: Family Law Week

Summary: Jody explains the options available to parents receiving or paying child support whose financial circumstances may have been badly affected by the recent turmoil.

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Disqualifying an alleged de facto director (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Rahman)

27th August 2020

John Dickinson writes article for Lexis®PSL:
Restructuring & Insolvency analysis: The Secretary of State applied for an order under section 8 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to disqualify Mr Rahman as a director. The allegation was that Mr Rahman was a de facto director (a person who assumes the duties of a director) of a company that had employed illegal migrant workers in its restaurant business. The court held that Mr Rahman was not involved in running the business and the claim was dismissed. The judgment includes a helpful summary of the case law for the test to be applied as to what amounts to being a de facto director and the evidence required to meet that test. Written by John Dickinson, barrister, at St John’s Chambers, Bristol, who represented Mr Rahman at the trial.

This article was first published by Lexis®PSL on 20/08/2020 here

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Re D-S (Contact with Children in Care: Covid-19)

13th August 2020

Barrister: Sophie Smith-Holland
Source: Family Law Week

SummaryThis was a successful appeal against a decision of HHJ Lea to refuse a mother’s application for direct contact to her children (who were being cared for by the Local Authority) as the lockdown restrictions eased. Appeal allowed.

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Re S (Parental Alienation: Cult: Transfer of Primary Care) [2020] EWHC 1940 (Fam)

31st July 2020

Barrister: Harriet Dudbridge
Source: Family Law Week
Summary: Harriet summarises the judgment for family law week about transfer of residence of a 9 year old to father’s care after mother failed to adequately disengage from the cult of Universal Medicine. There is to be no direct or indirect contact between mother and child over the Summer, and the reintroduction of contact between mother and child is to be decided by the father in consultation with the ISW.

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The PIBA Guide to Pension Loss Calculation written by James Rowley QC and our very own Matthew White

24th July 2020

St John’s Chambers is pleased to announce the publication of the PIBA Guide to Pension Loss Calculation written by James Rowley QC and our very own Matthew White. This 152 page book covers all that you might want to know about how to calculate pension loss correctly including:

  • the differences between money purchase and defined benefit pension schemes and how to handle them
  • dealing with lump sum payments
  • the effect of actuarial reduction in the event of retirement before state pension age
  • how to handle multipliers and multiplicands based on the 8th edition of the Ogden tables
  • example calculations to take you through every element of claiming loss, all based on Ogden-8
  • the main terms of all of the major public sector pension defined benefit schemes

This book explains to personal injury lawyers what they need to know to calculate pension loss without the assistance of a pensions expert.

In writing the foreword, Lord Justice Irwin says “This publication calls for compliments, but I am not being merely complimentary in suggesting it will become indispensable.“

The book can be purchased from the Personal Injury Bar Association website, or by clicking “BUY NOW”

If you would like to preview the first few pages of the book, click here

If you would like to instruct Matthew White in a Personal Injury matter, please contact his clerks: [email protected] or 0117 923 4730.

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University gets green light to serve alcohol at student hub – Bristol Live

16th July 2020

Alcohol will be sold on the ground floor of a student hub at the heart of the University of Bristol’s campus, after permission for a licence was given.The plan comes as the Hawthorns building, where alcohol is served and live performances are held, is set to be turned into a flagship £80m library.

Representing the university, Roy Light told Bristol City Council’s licensing subcommittee on July 9: “This is an application by the University of Bristol, a major employer in Bristol, which is bravely investing a huge amount of money in new facilities for students and the general public to use.


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