The Legal 500

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Chambers of Susan Hunter

101 VICTORIA STREET, BRISTOL, BS1 6PU, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0117 923 4700
Fax:
Fax 0117 929 4821
DX:
743350 BRISTOL 36
Email:
Web:
www.stjohnschambers.co.uk

Regional Bar: Western Circuit

Clinical negligence

St John's Chambers is home to one of the preeminent clinical negligence teams in the region, with its members acting for both claimants and defendants across a wide range of complex cases. Key areas of work include delayed or mis-diagnoses, negligently performed surgery, and dental negligence, an area in which Robert Mills recently secured a record £160,000 damages for a claimant.

Leading Juniors

Justin Valentine - St John's ChambersA tenacious and capable barrister

Ranked: tier 1

Tim Grice - St John's ChambersA highly experienced and talented barrister.

Ranked: tier 1

Tom Leeper - St John's ChambersA bright junior who is extremely good with clients.

Ranked: tier 1

Vanessa McKinlay - St John's ChambersA clear strategic thinker, who is good with clients.

Ranked: tier 1

David Regan - St John's ChambersA very thoughtful advocate who is well liked by clients.

Ranked: tier 2

Marcus Coates-Walker - St John's ChambersHis paperwork and advice in conference is incredibly thorough.

Ranked: tier 2

Robert Mills - St John's ChambersProvides reliable, considered, and thoughtful advice.

Ranked: tier 2

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Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law

St John's Chambers is home to a large team of commercial practitioners who are instructed in a wide range of cases including professional negligence and breach of contract claims. The set also reports a substantial increase in the number of wills and trusts-related instructions received in the past year, with the set being praised by solicitors as 'the go-to chambers outside London' for this area of work. In one representative instruction of note, Leslie Blohm QC and Natasha Dzameh recently acted for the parents of a millionaire who died intestate, and where his wife was alleged to have forfeited her claim by unlawfully killing the deceased.

Leading Silks

Leslie Blohm QC - St John's ChambersHis unflappable manner reassures both solicitor and client.

Ranked: tier 1
Leading Juniors

Alex Troup - St John's ChambersOne of the most able Chancery counsel on the Western Circuit.

Ranked: tier 1

Charlie Newington-Bridges - St John's ChambersHe is excellent in court and provides concise, commercially astute advice.

Ranked: tier 1

James Pearce-Smith - St John's ChambersHis case preparation is extremely thorough, leaving nothing to chance.

Ranked: tier 1

Charles Auld - St John's ChambersA thoroughly knowledgeable advocate who gives practical advice.

Ranked: tier 2

Christopher Jones - St John's ChambersHas an excellent manner with clients and provides very clear and practical advice.

Ranked: tier 2

John Dickinson - St John's ChambersAn intellectual force to be reckoned with, producing detailed advice which is nothing short of bomb-proof.

Ranked: tier 2

Michael Clarke - St John's ChambersVery bright and always comes up with practical solutions.

Ranked: tier 2

Nicholas Pointon - St John's ChambersA reliable junior with an excellent understanding of trust law.

Ranked: tier 2

Natasha Dzameh - St John's ChambersProfessional, knowledgeable, and with a good eye for detail.

Ranked: tier 2

Adam Boyle - St John's ChambersDiligent and extremely approachable.

Ranked: tier 3

Oliver Wooding - St John's ChambersTactically astute and very thorough in his preparation.

Ranked: tier 3

Richard Stead - St John's ChambersRecommended for professional negligence matters.

Ranked: tier 3

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Construction, planning and environment

St John's Chambers is particularly strong on large scale construction disputes, including adjudications, breach of contract claims, and high-value international arbitrations, where Andrew Kearney is a highly regarded practitioner. In a recent highlight, James Pearce-Smith represented the defendant developer in a dispute against a construction company; the claim settled following a  counterclaim against the contractor for failure to supply appropriate heating systems.

Leading Juniors

Andrew Kearney - St John's ChambersHe has an extensive and impressive knowledge of construction law and practice.

Ranked: tier 1

James Pearce-Smith - St John's ChambersA confident and efficient advocate who is calm and collected at all times.

Ranked: tier 1

Rebecca Taylor - St John's ChambersParticularly recommended for large international disputes.

Ranked: tier 1

Richard Stead - St John's ChambersRecommended for cases involving professional negligence or property damage incurred during construction.

Ranked: tier 2

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Costs

James Marwick and Darren Lewis at are the key members for costs work at St John's Chambers and are particularly experienced in costs arising from personal injury or clinical negligence claims. Marwick recently acted for the paying party in a case involving fixed recoverable costs in which the judge had allowed for significant counsel's fees over and above the fixed costs threshold.

Leading Juniors

Darren Lewis - St John's ChambersExperienced in a wide range of costs matters.

Ranked: tier 1

James Marwick - St John's ChambersHis costs and CPR technical knowledge are outstanding.

Ranked: tier 1

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Court of Protection and community care

Members of St John's Chambers frequently appear in the Court of Protection in cases concerning capacity to consent, deputy disputes, health and welfare proceedings, along with property and affairs.

Leading Juniors

Abigail Bond - St John's ChambersSpecialises in health and welfare matters.

Ranked: tier 1

Alex Troup - St John's ChambersA skilled advocate who is really good on his feet.

Ranked: tier 1

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Family and children law

St John's Chambers is home to a large contingent of specialist family barristers, who provide 'great depth' across public and private children law cases, as well as all aspects of divorce and financial remedy work. Areas of specialism include international assets in finance cases, non-accidental injury matters involving complex causation evidence, and child maintenance, where Jody Atkinson is the key name to note.

Leading Silks

Christopher Sharp QC - St John's ChambersHis grasp of detail is remarkable and his breadth of knowledge entirely comprehensive.

Ranked: tier 1

Kathryn Skellorn QC - St John's ChambersHer preparation, drafting and advocacy is of an extremely high standard.

Ranked: tier 1
Leading Juniors

Abigail Bond - St John's ChambersAn excellent advocate.

Ranked: tier 1

Andrew Commins - St John's ChambersAn extremely safe pair of hands with an unrivalled knowledge of the law and procedure.

Ranked: tier 1

Judi Evans - St John's ChambersHighly knowledgeable, excellent with clients and a formidable advocate.

Ranked: tier 1

Susan Hunter - St John's ChambersHer knowledge of the law and advocacy skills are second to none.

Ranked: tier 1

Caroline Eldford - St John's ChambersRecommended for complex care cases.

Ranked: tier 2

Nick Miller - St John's ChambersSolid as a rock and extremely persuasive in court.

Ranked: tier 2

Richard Norman - St John's ChambersHe has an excellent strategic mind well beyond his years.

Ranked: tier 2

Jody Atkinson - St John's ChambersA technical wizard when it comes to child maintenance legislation.

Ranked: tier 3

Lucy Reed - St John's ChambersA highly competent barrister who works diligently and with determination to solve complex cases.

Ranked: tier 3

Zoe Saunders - St John's ChambersShe exudes authority and skill.

Ranked: tier 3

Jack Harris - St John's ChambersGood on his feet and great with clients.

Ranked: tier 4

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Inquests and inquiries

St John's Chambers is the preeminent set for inquest work in the South West, with specialist areas including deaths in custody, care deaths, and fatal accidents. Notable recent instructions include self-inflicted custody death Re: Jeffery Griffiths, and Re: Christopher Clarke, which concerned a fatal workplace accident.

Leading Juniors

David Regan - St John's ChambersHe has an excellent manner with clients in the most sensitive and emotive cases.

Ranked: tier 1

Emma Zeb - St John's ChambersFirst class when acting for local or public authorities.

Ranked: tier 1

Matthew White - St John's ChambersPredominantly instructed by state actors in inquests, he has a forensic mind.

Ranked: tier 1

Rachel Russell - St John's Chambers‘Very experienced across a range of inquest matters.’

Ranked: tier 1

Tom Leeper - St John's ChambersExtremely thorough. He leaves no stone unturned.

Ranked: tier 1

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Leading Sets
Leading Sets - ranked: tier 1

St John's Chambers

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Personal injury

The personal injury team at St John's Chambers reports an increase in defendant work, with members acting for government departments, insurers, and employers, in addition to claimant work. Key areas of work include catastrophic injury, road traffic accidents, and cases involving allegations of fundamental dishonesty, as well as more niche areas such as Animals Act claims, where Richard Stead is the key practitioner. Industrial disease and workplace injury specialist Andrew McLaughlin successfully defended the Ministry of Defence in a £1.5m stress at work claim brought by a former RAF sergeant.

Leading Silks

Christopher Sharp QC - St John's ChambersHis technical understanding makes him ideally suited to complex brain injury and spinal injury claims.

Ranked: tier 1
Leading Juniors

Andrew McLaughlin - St John's ChambersAn exceptionally good trial advocate, who is also incisive and pragmatic with his advice.

Ranked: tier 1

Emma Zeb - St John's ChambersFirm yet realistic in settlement negotiations.

Ranked: tier 1

Matthew White - St John's ChambersParticularly knowledgeable on highways claims.

Ranked: tier 1

Ben Handy - St John's ChambersExcellent with clients and extremely personable.

Ranked: tier 2

James Marwick - St John's ChambersA very tenacious advocate with a strong work ethic.

Ranked: tier 2

Richard Stead - St John's ChambersHighly recommended for Animals Act cases.

Ranked: tier 2

Darren Lewis - St John's ChambersA great trial advocate.

Ranked: tier 3

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Property

St John's Chambers property group is home to a large number of specialist members, who are experienced in commercial, agricultural, and residential property cases. In a recent highlight, Leslie Blohm QC and John Sharples recently acted for the respondent in the easements case of Haddock v Churston Golf Club.

Leading Silks

Leslie Blohm QC - St John's ChambersA go-to barrister for thorny property matters, particularly those with a rural edge.

Ranked: tier 1
Leading Juniors

Christopher Jones - St John's ChambersA clinical, first-class advocate.

Ranked: tier 1

Charles Auld - St John's ChambersHe has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge.

Ranked: tier 1

John Sharples - St John's ChambersHe combines a first-class brain with superb advocacy and client skills.

Ranked: tier 1

Alex Troup - St John's ChambersParticularly recommended for high value or complex proprietary estoppel cases.

Ranked: tier 2

Natasha Dzameh - St John's ChambersVery sharp and responsive, with great attention to detail and a good way with clients.

Ranked: tier 2

Oliver Wooding - St John's ChambersPersonable, bright, and responsive.

Ranked: tier 2

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Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing

St John's Chambers regulatory team are predominantly focused on health and safety and licensing matters. On the latter, Roy Light is particularly experienced on taxi and adult establishment licensing, acting for all parties in such cases as well as taking instructions for alcohol licensing work. On the health and safety front, Simon Morgan prosecuted Bridgend County Borough Council following a fatal accident involving a 15-year-old student at a school overseen by the local authority; the manner in which the parking area had been constructed some years earlier exposed pupils to significant risks.

Leading Juniors

Roy Light - St John's ChambersVery approachable. He is able to present issues to clients in an easy to understand and pragmatic way. Clients warm to his style. He is a very convincing advocate.

Ranked: tier 1

Simon Morgan - St John's ChambersNo matter of fact, law, or procedure gets past him.

Ranked: tier 1

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