St John's Chambers > Bristol, England > Set Profile

Chambers of Matthew White
St John's Chambers

Western Circuit > Agriculture Tier 1

St John’s Chambers is a ‘strong set with strength in depth‘ in relation to agricultural matters on the Western Circuit, with members representing landowners, estates, trustees, tenants, developers and local authorities, among other interested parties, in relation to a wide range of issues. James Pearce-Smith has extensive experience as a commercial litigator, including in cases involving farming partnerships and food production businesses. Alex Troup KC, who took silk in March 2023, is a ‘standout‘ barrister with a strong Bristol-based chancery practice that often involves agricultural elements. He recently appeared in Hughes v Pritchard in the Court of Appeal, a high-profile dispute concerning the validity of a deceased farmer’s will and a proprietary estoppel claim. Leslie Blohm KC, as was, is now a Senior Circuit Judge.

2023 Silks

Alex Troup KCSt John’s Chambers ‘He is an all-round exceptional barrister who instills confidence from an early stage in the lay client and those instructing him. He is incredibly bright and is a tremendously confident and measured advocate who has the ear of the court. Even before his appointment to King’s Counsel, he was the principal barrister in Bristol for meaty Chancery matters.’ 

Leading Juniors

Christopher JonesSt John’s Chambers 'A strong cross-examiner who is very confident in court.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Oliver Wooding  – St John’s Chambers 'He continuously delivers excellent work both on paper and in person at mediations and hearings. His skill and expertise is evident on every instruction and the quality and promptness of his work never falters. In addition to his impressive breadth of knowledge, he is proficient in interacting with clients and always gives every case 100%.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
James Pearce-Smith – St John’s Chambers 'James gives very clear advice and this is mirrored in his polite but effective advocacy. He always has a strong grasp of the facts and applicable law.'   
Ranked: Tier 1


‘St John’s Chambers’ clerks’ room is dynamic, efficient and especially helpful.  In particular,  Paul Bennett is always prompt to respond and incredibly helpful when there are any queries that need addressing urgently.’

‘St John’s Chambers’ clerking team is the most efficient and knowledgeable in Bristol. Paul Bennett in particular is excellent.’

‘Simon Lyons and Paul Bennett cannot be faulted, and the clerks generally are always friendly, helpful and accommodating and broadly speaking very quick to reply to enquiries and/or work schedules and diaries around to meet client needs.’

‘St John’s Chambers has proven its ability to take on a range of difficult and complex cases, both when it comes to expert advice and where representation is needed at a mediation or hearing.’ 


Work highlights

Western Circuit > Chancery, probate, and tax Tier 1

St John’s Chambers’ ‘excellent‘ Chancery and probate team stands out on the Western Circuit, with members offering ‘a wide range of expertise‘. Clients benefit from John Dickinson’s former experience as a Chartered Accountant and his ‘fantastic eye for detail’, while Alex Troup KC recently acted in the high-profile Court of Appeal case of Hughes v Pritchard, which considered the validity of the deceased’s will on the grounds of testamentary capacity as well as a proprietary estoppel claim to a substantial plot of farmland. Christopher Jones is a highly regarded probate and trust specialist and has recently acted in contested will claims, disputes over the administration of trust funds, and several significant proprietary estoppel claims, while Oliver Wooding has broad experience, including in connection with the rectification of lifetime trusts and applications for the removal of executors, and Joss Knight appeared in Bracey v Curley, which considered the principles of will construction and the availability of rectification as a remedy.

2023 Silks

Alex Troup KCSt John’s ChambersHe is a top-rated barrister and mediator, and his combination of skill, expertise and excellent bedside manner is evidenced time and again on every instruction. He can command a room whilst simultaneously remaining professional and sensitive to a client’s position. The quality of his work is always impeccable.’ 

Leading Juniors

John DickinsonSt John’s ChambersHe approaches his cases as if they are a logic puzzle, which means he covers all the issues in a manner that a lay client can follow. He is one of the safest pair of hands on the circuit.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Natasha DzamehSt John’s ChambersShe is a methodical thinker who prepares thoroughly for trial. On her feet she is fast, but particularly comes into her own in closing arguments.  Her written work is also very thorough but most importantly when working together on a matter, she is always available to talk something over on the phone.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Oliver WoodingSt John’s ChambersOliver is great on his feet and quick to reassure clients with a friendly smile. He provides a sound strategy to achieve a client’s goal without getting lost in ancillary matters, cutting through the noise and focussing on the important issues.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Adam BoyleSt John’s ChambersHis advice is always reliable, well-reasoned, and he quickly gets to the nub of any issue. He is also one of the best advocates around, his delivery is calm and concise and he effortlessly extracts vital concessions from both the expert and the lay witness.’ 
Ranked: Tier 2
Christopher JonesSt John’s Chambers 'He is very confident in court and in advocacy situations generally. He is assertive and helpful in mediations and has a very down-to-earth manner with clients.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
Ranked: Tier 2
Michael Clarke – St John’s Chambers ‘He is very personable and takes a pragmatic approach to cases.'
Ranked: Tier 2


‘Simon Lyons is very cheerful and keen to assist.’

‘Simon Lyons is always very helpful and will always do all he can to help.’

‘St John’s Chambers has proven it can take on a range of difficult and complex cases, both when it comes to expert advice and where representation is needed at a mediation or hearing.’ 

‘St John’s is our go-to set for contentious trusts and probate work.’ 

‘St John’s has an excellent reputation for this type of work.’

‘Good at contentious trust and probate work.’ 

‘A good set of barristers and friendly clerks.’

‘A very good and efficient clerks room.’

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Commercial litigation Tier 1

St John’s Chambers’ ‘excellent‘ commercial team offers its expertise to both businesses and individuals in relation to a wide range of disputes. John Dickinsondeals with difficult cases with ease’, including those involving local authority procurement claims, breaches of contract, restraint of trade, and fraud. In Capital Green Recycling v Bird, James Pearce-Smith represented the defendants in a significant claim for damages for misrepresentation and breach of warranty, brought by the overseas purchaser of shares in a waste recycling company. Matthew O’Regan specialises in competition disputes, while Charlie Newington-Bridges regularly displays a ‘superb mastery of company-commercial disputes‘, focusing on shareholder and partnership disputes, commercial contract disputes, claims relation to directors, and financial litigation. He recently acted for the first respondent in the High Court case of Duneau v Klimt Invest SA, which concerned the winding up of a listed company on the just and equitable ground of loss of substratum. Natasha Dzameh is a ‘confident advocate‘ who represents a wide range of clients, including financial institutions, international corporations, and individuals.

Leading Juniors

Charlie Newington-BridgesSt John’s Chambers ‘Charlie is an exceptional and persuasive advocate, with a calm but imposing advocacy style. He also displays a meticulous attention to detail when working on papers and builds easy rapport with clients.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
James Pearce-SmithSt John’s Chambers ‘He is very user-friendly, knowledgeable, calm, flexible and overall a pleasure to work with.’
Ranked: Tier 1
Ranked: Tier 2
Matthew O’ReganSt John’s Chambers ‘Matthew is a highly-experienced competition lawyer. As well as being highly knowledgeable, he produces detailed and well-researched written submissions. He also has particularly good commercial awareness. He is a go-to junior barrister and the leading competition barrister not based in London.’ 
Ranked: Tier 2
Natasha DzamehSt John’s Chambers ‘Natasha is a fountain of knowledge. She is very astute and is able to look at complex issues and break them down easily to determine the best strategy to meet a client's needs. Natasha also always provides prompt and clear advice.'
Ranked: Tier 2
John DickinsonSt John’s ChambersHe is great with clients and always has a good grasp of details. He is able to marshal information well and is a persuasive and unflappable advocate in court. His accounting background also proves very helpful.'
Ranked: Tier 2


‘Simon Lyons is very helpful and prompt.’ 

‘The clerks are commercial, practical and most importantly, quick. In particular, Simon Lyons, who is extremely helpful, Paul Nuttall, who is very efficient, and Rob Bocock who runs the team, are excellent. The clerks team at St Johns makes it easy to use this set.’ 

‘The clerks are extremely responsive, knowledgeable and commercial in their approach. Simon Lyons in particular stands out. He develops relationships with instructing solicitors and endeavours to understand matters in order to assist in the progression of the instruction.’ 

‘The go to set in the South West in terms of strength in depth at a junior level.’

‘Good strength in depth.’ 

‘A very strong set which could easily match London counsel.’ 

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Court of Protection and community care Tier 1

St John’s Chambers is a ‘go-to‘ set for Court of Protection work on the Western Circuit, with several members regularly receiving instructions from family members, the Official Solicitor, and local authorities, among others. Alex Troup KC is ‘a formidable advocate‘ and is ‘very able at explaining complex issues to lay people‘. His chancery practice frequently involves Court of Protection work, mainly relating to property and affairs. Oliver Wooding, always ‘able to build a good rapport with clients‘, is also experienced in mental capacity disputes, and again often handles matters concerning property and affairs.

2023 Silks

Alex Troup KCSt John’s Chambers ‘Alex is excellent: insightful, highly knowledgeable, very able at explaining complex issues to lay people, calm, and personable. He is a formidable advocate who has great presence. Deservedly a KC.' 

Leading Juniors

Oliver WoodingSt John’s Chambers ‘Not only is Oliver incredibly knowledgeable but importantly he is able to build a good rapport with clients and provide sensible and commercial advice.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1


‘An excellent clerking service. The clerks are always happy to try and accommodate urgent matters. Elizabeth Champion, Paul Bennett, and Simon Lyons are particularly notable.’ 

‘An excellent set, a go-to set for Court of Protection work.’

‘Counsel are very knowledgeable and responsive.’

‘The clerks are very amendable, responsive, and keen to assist.’

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Family: children and domestic violence Tier 1

St John’s Chambers is one of the leading sets on the Western Circuit for public and private child law work. Christopher Sharp KC is instructed by parents, local authorities, and guardians in child protection cases involving catastrophic or fatal injuries. Abigail Bond, specialising in care proceedings involving learning disabled parents, heads the practice group in chambers.

Leading Silks

Christopher Sharp KCSt John’s Chambers 'Christopher is a legend. An elegantly persuasive silk.'
Ranked: Tier 1

2023 Silks

Lucy Reed KC – St John’s ChambersLucy is a wonderful barrister, as strong on written submissions as she is on her feet, where she attracts the ear of judges with her court manner, and more than holds her own with silks far more senior than her.

Leading Juniors

Abigail BondSt John’s Chambers 'Abigail is a brilliant barrister. She is completely respected by every tribunal she appears in front of and you can tell judges listen to what she says. She is articulate, intelligent, unflappable, civil to the opposition and caring with clients.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Judi EvansSt John’s Chambers 'Clients respect her direct approach.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Susan HunterSt John’s Chambers 'Susan is tenacious and pragmatic. She quickly gets to the heart of a case, rolls up her sleeves and looks to resolve matters. She is very user friendly and has an excellent support manner with clients coupled with a healthy no-nonsense approach.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Caroline ElfordSt John’s Chambers 'An incisive junior who fights for her client.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Ryan Morgan  – St John’s Chambers 'Ryan is always well prepared, calm, and has excellent client skills. He gives clear advice which can be easily understood.' 
Ranked: Tier 4
Olivia PikeSt John’s Chambers 'Olivia's knowledge of the law is top class and her ability to deal with clients in a caring and empathetic way whilst still putting a case forward effectively is very impressive.'
Ranked: Tier 4


‘Marcus Harding is a credit to the team; he always goes above and beyond.’

‘The clerking at St John’s is extremely effective. They are often able to deliver on listings and assist in fixing hearings up in a way that other chambers do not quite match. Luke Hodgson in particular is a standout.’

‘Elaine Jewell-Moore’s ability to find counsel availability or move diaries around is excellent. She is always willing to consider the client’s needs in terms of costs and seniority.’

‘Marcus Harding is in equal measures brilliant and dynamic. If something needs doing, Marcus will get it done!

‘St John’s Chambers offers a very good service and an impressive number of highly skilled barristers.’

‘St John’s Chambers has a large offering of experienced barristers covering all aspects of private children proceedings.’

‘St John’s Chambers is easily the best for Family Law in the South West. The clerks are very helpful and knowledgeable and counsel are always great.’

Western Circuit > Personal injury Tier 1

St John's Chambers is ‘an impressive set with a number of high-quality barristers’, praised by some as ‘the strongest set in the South West for claimant personal injury litigation’. Christopher Sharp KC handles medically and legally complex claims, often involving catastrophic brain and spinal injuries, for both claimants and defendants, while Andrew McLaughlin, a ‘tenacious advocate with vast experience’, represents insurers in high-value, multi-track claims. In Jenkinson v Robertson, Matthew White, ‘a master of fine detail’, represented a claimant in his appeal against an initial finding that he had been fundamentally dishonest in his claim following a road traffic accident. Jimmy Barber, ‘excellent at getting to the important issues in a case‘, specialises in claims involving accidents abroad, hearing loss, asthma, freezing injuries, and chronic pain, as well as in cases with complicating procedural issues.

Leading Silks

Christopher Sharp KCSt John’s ChambersChristopher has a colossal intellect, which, coupled with a huge capacity for hard work, attention to detail and an acute awareness of potential pitfalls, ensures that cases are thoroughly prepared and brilliantly presented, both on paper and in court.' 
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Juniors

Matthew WhiteSt John’s Chambers ‘Matthew has an incredible attention to detail. He is meticulous in his planning and written work and his persuasively balanced but no-nonsense approach makes him an exceptional advocate.’
Ranked: Tier 1
Richard SteadSt John’s ChambersRichard is extremely knowledgeable, puts clients at ease and is an excellent trial advocate.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Andrew McLaughlin – St John’s Chambers ‘Andrew is excellent at drafting erudite defences and counter schedules. He is adept at probing cross-examination of witnesses at trial and putting forward complex cases in a straightforward fashion. He has in-depth medical knowledge and is a masterful tactician in mediations and without prejudice settlement meetings.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Ben HandySt John’s Chambers ‘Ben combines a forensic approach to the evidence whilst taking into account broader issues in a case. He provides excellent advice on strategy and is a reliable and reassuring presence. He is also a resourceful and highly adaptable advocate.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
James MarwickSt John’s Chambers ‘James is an extremely gifted advocate, which also comes from thorough preparation. He is empathetic and cares about his clients. He also does not shy away from giving an opinion, either in person, on an ad hoc basis or on paper.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Jimmy Barber  - St John's Chambers 'Jimmy is wise beyond his years and call and is exceptionally detailed and thorough in the advice that he gives. He very quickly sees the issues in a case and his advocacy skills are second to none.' 
Ranked: Tier 3
Darren LewisSt John’s Chambers ‘Darren has very keen eye for detail and his pleadings are succinct and robust. He is an excellent advocate and in cross-examination he is thorough.'
Ranked: Tier 3
Rachel SegalSt John’s Chambers ‘Rachel has an unrivalled attention to detail, excellent response times, and is a thoughtful and concise advocate.' 
Ranked: Tier 3
James Hughes  – St John’s Chambers ‘James is extremely personable and communicates well with those instructing and clients alike. He has good technical knowledge and his advocacy and courtroom presence are impressive.'
Ranked: Tier 3


‘Adam Marston and Hugh Maguire are quick, efficient, reliable, polite, and manage the members very well. Very dependable and trustworthy characters.’

‘The clerks are extremely helpful and responsive, particularly Adam Marston and Hugh Maguire.’

‘The clerks are well-organised and friendly. They always have a sensible choice or suggestion if there is a conflict of dates. They are accessible and can be relied on in a crisis! Adam Marston, Lara Hanney and Hugh Maguire in particular are excellent.’

‘The strongest set in the South West for claimant personal injury litigation by far.’

‘St John’s Chambers is an impressive set with a number of high-quality barristers.’

‘St John’s Chambers is a great go-to set for the South West and beyond. They have an excellent choice for senior juniors.’

‘St John’s is without a doubt the go-to set in the South West of the country, consistently providing a high level of service.’

Western Circuit > Property and construction Tier 1

St John’s Chambers is a ‘first-class‘ set for property and construction law work, with ‘a range of experienced barristers and upcoming juniors‘. John Sharples is ‘outstanding on commercial property matters‘ - he recently acted for the respondent in Ali v Khatib & ors, a Court of Appeal case which resolved conflicting first instance authority to clarify the law relating to occupation rent, including the weight to be given to the occupying party’s conduct or circumstances when determining when rent is payable. James Pearce-Smith acts in construction disputes involving builders and subcontractors as well as in professional negligence claims against architects and developers. Christopher Jones, ‘very confident in court and in arbitrations‘, has a broad property practice, while Charles Auld, ‘a robust and creative advocate‘, has considerable experience dealing with boundary disputes, landlord and tenant work, rights of way, and land registration. Adam Boyle recently acted for the respondent in Philpott v Bovisand Park Limited, an unusual considering whether an applicant might prescriptively acquire an easement over land, notwithstanding permission to use the land having been granted, if they are in fact subjectively unaware that such permission has been granted.  

Rising stars

Brittany Pearce – St John’s Chambers ‘Brittany is very pragmatic and robust in her approach. She can think on her feet and does not shy away from situations which are sprung on her at the last moment.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Daniel Soar - St John's Chambers 'Dan is exceptionally user friendly and he has a knack for providing commercial and practical advice, delivered in an understandable manner. He is technically strong and will find solutions, even in complex circumstances.'
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Juniors

Charles AuldSt John’s ChambersCharles is a very robust and creative advocate. He is first-class both in conference and on paper. He boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of property law and is a very effective property litigator.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Christopher JonesSt John’s ChambersChristopher gives clear advice on the issues and strategy.'
Ranked: Tier 1
John SharplesSt John’s ChambersJohn is outstanding on commercial property matters. He has vast knowledge, which he employs with great thoroughness.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
Oliver WoodingSt John’s ChambersOliver is a highly skilled barrister whose skill and expertise is evident on every instruction. In addition to his impressive breadth of knowledge, he is incredibly skilled in interacting with clients.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
Natasha DzamehSt John’s ChambersNatasha has a great eye for detail and is able to marshal arguments into very concise and effective submissions and pleadings.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
Adam BoyleSt John’s Chambers ‘Adam is a confident advocate and his skills far exceed his year of call, putting him on a par with those more senior than him and way above his peers of similar call and experience.'  
Ranked: Tier 2


‘Both Rob Bocock and Paul Bennett are highly approachable and are excellent in matching counsel to the case requirements and the needs of the client.’

‘The clerks at St John’s are a credit to the set. Elizabeth Champion, Rob Bocock, and Simon Lyons make instructing any barrister possible with incredible ease.’

‘A first class set. All the barristers are excellent and their CPD training is brilliant.’

‘St John’s Chambers has proven its ability to take on a range of difficult and complex cases, both when it comes to expert advice and where representation is needed at a mediation or hearing.’

‘St Johns Chambers is a go-to chambers. They have a range of experienced barristers and upcoming juniors.’

‘A good clerking team.’

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Clinical negligence Tier 2

St John’s Chambers is one of the ‘go-to‘ clinical negligence sets on the Western Circuit and beyond. Justin Valentine is well regarded for his ‘meticulous attention to detail‘ and handles a wide range of claimant and defendant instructions, specialising in neonatal, cauda equina, and diabetes-related claims. He is counsel in several long-running, high-value claims, including those concerning historic negligence. Rachel Segal’s practice includes multiple cases involving the delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancers, particularly of breast cancer, as well as ophthalmology, gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery, and obstetrics. Lauren Karmel ‘interacts well both with medical experts and claimants’ and has been instructed in relation to over thirty clinical and dental negligence cases this past year.

Leading Juniors

Justin ValentineSt John’s ChambersJustin is forensic in his approach, and has an eye for detail. He is also tactically very strong, and maintains one eye on the big picture. Overall, Justin is very easy to work with as he aims to get the best outcome through working as a team.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
James MarwickSt John’s Chambers ‘James is very approachable, thorough, responsive, and excellent when drafting and giving advice.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Rachel Segal  – St John’s Chambers ‘Rachel is extremely good with clients and her advocacy is excellent. She is also incredibly strong on anything related to relief from sanctions.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Lauren Karmel - St John's Chambers 'She is always prepared to go the extra mile.'
Ranked: Tier 2


‘Hugh Maguire and Adam Marston are excellent clerks, and very accommodating and flexible.’

‘Hugh Maguire is organised, knowledgeable and always willing to help.’

‘A set with excellent clinical negligence expertise.’

‘This set has good strength in depth at all levels of seniority.’

‘St Johns Chambers is a “go to” chambers for clinical negligence work with a wide range of available counsel.’

‘St John’s is the go to set for clinical negligence work in the South West, with strength in depth across all levels of call. They are also a very slick outfit in terms of their marketing, training, and thought leadership.’

‘Really supportive and friendly clerks.’

‘The clerks at St Johns are friendly and always available.’

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Family: divorce and financial remedy Tier 2

St John’s Chambers is a strong set for divorce and financial remedy work, with several barristers, including a KC, well-known across the Western Circuit for acting in high-value and technically complex cases. Zoe Saunders, specialising in cases involving farms and farming businesses, multiple properties, trusts of land, complex pensions schemes, and insolvency, heads the team. Christopher Sharp KC has considerable experience in high-net-worth cases, while Bethany Scarsbrook’s practice includes cases involving allegations of non-disclosure as well as complex multi-jurisdictional asset structures. Andrew Commins has left the profession.

Leading Juniors

Richard NormanSt John’s Chambers 'Richard is the perfect package for divorce and financial remedy work. He provides strong realistic advice, has an excellent client manner and is extremely well respected by judges.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Zoë SaundersSt John’s Chambers 'Zoe is a powerhouse, in both her preparation and on her feet. Her swift grasp of case nuances and complexities is second to none, and is matched only by her robust but kind way with clients.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Jody AtkinsonSt John’s Chambers 'His case preparation is superb, as is his technical expertise.'
Ranked: Tier 3
Bethany Scarsbrook – St John’s Chambers 'An incredibly bright junior and an exceptional advocate.'
Ranked: Tier 3
Jack HarrisSt John’s Chambers 'Jack is a tenacious advocate with a pragmatic and solution-orientated focus.'
Ranked: Tier 3

Western Circuit > Professional negligence Tier 2

St John’s Chambers hosts several members with considerable experience in the field of professional negligence claims. James Pearce-Smith recently acted for and against defendant solicitors, including in Mercer v Burningham & Brown, which concerned a significant claim alleging a negligent failure to obtain a right of way to nearby land with development potential, a case raising issues regarding quantification and mitigation of loss. John Dickinson mainly handles claims that emerge from his Chancery and commercial practices, while Joss Knight acts on behalf of claimants, defendants, and insurers, principally in claims against solicitors, architects, and construction professionals.

Leading Juniors

James Pearce-SmithSt John’s Chambers ‘James is a fantastic advocate. His approach to cross-examination is particularly impressive in that he comes across at first as extremely polite and courteous, which lulls witnesses into a false sense of security, and he then sets about pulling their testimony methodically apart.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
John DickinsonSt John’s ChambersJohn has a rare cross-discipline of law and accountancy, which is invaluable. He is thorough in his analysis and crystal-clear in his explanations.  He is also decisive, accurate and completely dependable. Moreover, he is easy to talk to and very supportive.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Joss KnightSt John’s ChambersJoss is an all-round excellent barrister. He is socially, emotionally and academically intelligent.' 
Ranked: Tier 2


‘Rob Bocock is particularly helpful and very knowledgeable when it comes to barristers’ respective strengths. Elizabeth Champion and Paul Bennett also stand out.’

‘A good chambers.’

‘All of the clerks at St Johns are excellent. They respond quickly to enquiries.’ 

Western Circuit > Company and insolvency

Leading Juniors

Charlie Newington-BridgesSt John’s Chambers ‘Charlie is commercial, good with numbers, and able to get to the heart of matters quickly.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
James Pearce-SmithSt John’s Chambers ‘He is known for his attention to detail.’
Ranked: Tier 1

Western Circuit > Costs

Leading Juniors

Darren LewisSt John’s ChambersDarren knows his stuff in a practice area in a part of the country where specialists are few and far between. He is always approachable, calm and unflustered. Darren has strong advocacy skills and provides timely and detailed written advice.'
Ranked: Tier 1

Western Circuit > Licensing

Leading Juniors

Roy LightSt John’s ChambersRoy is an excellent advocate with a strong, persuasive, and personable style.  He gets his messaging across to licensing committees in a calm and convincing manner. He is also very approachable and good with clients.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1

Western Circuit > Planning and environment

Leading Juniors

Harry SpurrSt John’s Chambers ‘Harry is incredibly clear and very quickly able to get his point across. It is immediately obvious that he has prepared in depth for conferences and knows the material relevant to his instruction inside out.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Timothy Leader – St John’s Chambers ‘Timothy is very personable and cuts to the heart of each issue very quickly. He comes very well-prepared and in advocacy is never fazed by the fight and can ruffle feathers when he needs to. He can also bring inspectors and witnesses gently along with him when setting up a position.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1

St John’s Chambers is one of the largest and most prestigious barristers’ sets in the South West, with 7 silks and over 80 juniors attracting high-quality work in all major areas of civil law. We were voted ‘Set of the Year’ (outside London) by The Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022, and ‘Chambers of the Year 2022’ by Bristol Law Society.

We demonstrate excellence and innovation in the provision of legal services having been involved in a number of landmark decisions in the High Court and Court of Appeal. As one of the go-to chambers for legal advice outside London, we receive high level complex instructions from law firms across the UK, multi-national businesses, high-net-worth individuals and people from all walks of life. The leading directories describe us as a ‘Western Circuit Powerhouse’ (The Legal 500) and ‘Like having London-quality barristers on your doorstep.’ (Chambers UK).

The set’s stand-out legal expertise is evidenced by the number of our members who go on to distinguished service in the judiciary. Within the team are five Recorders, one fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, two High Court Judges, three Deputy District Judges, an Assistant Deputy Coroner and two members on the Attorney General list.

Our commitment
Whether you are a law firm, a business, a public sector organisation or a private individual, you can be sure you will receive legal expertise and client care of the very highest standards from St John’s. Our barristers are described by peers as easy to work with and committed to delivering quality advice on time. They will prepare the strongest possible case and keep all parties informed at every stage. As part of our commitment to our clients, we make sure all communications are timely, clear and concise.

Our clients
Our client base includes regional and national law firms, representing and advising prominent businesses and private individuals. We also provide advice and representation under the public access scheme to members of the public and individual professionals and executives such as planning consultants, managing directors and doctors. Read more.

Areas of work: We have top tier expertise in: agriculture & rural affairs, clinical negligence, commercial, construction and engineering, Court of Protection, employment, family and divorce, health and safety, inquests and public inquiries, international arbitration, licensing, personal injury, planning, professional negligence, public & administrative law, real estate, tax, and wills and trusts.

Mediation: For cases where mediation is appropriate, we have a team of 26 qualified mediators available to assist in the capacity of adviser, advocate or mediator.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chief Executive Simon Rhodes
Head of Marketing & Events Sarah Sands
Office Manager Isabelle Mills
Key clerking contacts Rob Bocock (Commercial and Chancery)
Key clerking contacts Luke Hodgson (Family)
Key clerking contacts Adam Marston and Hugh Maguire (Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence)
Members of Chambers SHARP KC, Christopher (1975)
Members of Chambers TROUP, Alex (1998)
Members of Chambers REED KC, Lucy (2002)
Members of Chambers ORNSBY KC, Suzanne (1986)*
Members of Chambers PHILLIPS KC, Matthew (1993)
Members of Chambers GODWIN KC, William (1986)*
Members of Chambers O'SULLIVAN KC, Derek (1990)*
Members of Chambers STEAD, Richard (1979)
Members of Chambers AULD, Charles (1980)
Members of Chambers WADSLEY, Peter (1984)
Members of Chambers HUNTER, Susan (1985)
Members of Chambers SHARPLES, John (1992)
Members of Chambers LIGHT, Prof Roy (1992)
Members of Chambers McLAUGHLIN, Andrew (1993)
Members of Chambers PHILLIMORE, Sarah (1994)
Members of Chambers PEARCE-SMITH, James (2002)
Members of Chambers DICKINSON, John (1995)
Members of Chambers EVANS, Judi (1996)
Head of Chambers WHITE, Matthew (1997)
Members of Chambers O'REGAN, Matthew (2015)
Members of Chambers HORNE, Julian (1998)
Members of Chambers BOND, Abigail (1999)
Members of Chambers VALENTINE, Justin (1999)
Members of Chambers THORNTON, Delia (1999}
Members of Chambers HUSSAIN, Zahid (2001)
Members of Chambers RUSSELL, Rachel (2001)
Members of Chambers ELFORD, Caroline (2002)
Members of Chambers BELYAVIN, Julia (2003)
Members of Chambers SAUNDERS, Zoe (2003)
Members of Chambers TAYLOR, Rebecca (2003)
Members of Chambers JONES, Christopher (2004)
Members of Chambers LEWIS, Darren (2004)
Members of Chambers ATKINSON, Jody (2005)
Members of Chambers Asprey, Louise (2007)
Members of Chambers WEST, Patrick (2007)
Members of Chambers HANDY, Ben (2008)
Members of Chambers PIKE, Olivia (2008)
Members of Chambers BARBER, Jimmy (2008)
Members of Chambers MARWICK, James (2008)
Members of Chambers CLARKE, Michael (2009)
Members of Chambers WOODING, Oliver (2009)
Members of Chambers NORMAN, Richard (2009)
Members of Chambers DZAMEH, Natasha (2010)
Members of Chambers NEWINGTON-BRIDGES, Charlie (2011)
Members of Chambers HUGHES, James (2011)
Members of Chambers BOYLE, Adam (2012)
Members of Chambers HARRIS, Jack (2012)
Members of Chambers GROVES, Asha (2013)
Members of Chambers SEGAL, Rachel (2013)
Members of Chambers RILEY, Oliver (2013)
Members of Chambers MILLS, Robert (2014)
Members of Chambers KNIGHT, Joss (2014)
Members of Chambers SCARSBROOK, Bethany (2014)
Members of Chambers SMITH-HOLLAND, SOPHIE (2015)
Members of Chambers DUDBRIDGE, Harriet (2015)
Members of Chambers SOAR, Daniel (2016)
Members of Chambers SAMPSON, Annie (2017)
Members of Chambers LINDFIELD, Jonathan (2017)
Members of Chambers THOMPSON, Georgina (2017)
Members of Chambers JONES, Rhodri (2017)
Members of Chambers FINCHAM, Sarah (2018)
Members of Chambers MORTON, Dominik (2018)
Members of Chambers FORSTER, David (2018)
Members of Chambers WHITE, Zoey (2018)
Members of Chambers CROLY, VIVIEN (2019)
Members of Chambers PEARSON, Kate (2019)
Members of Chambers PANKHURST, Jack (2021)
Members of Chambers M. PANIZZON-PINEDA, Diana (2021)
Members of Chambers BLOOMFIELD, Kayleigh (2021)
Members of Chambers PRITCHARD, Glen (2022)
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Charles Auld photo Charles Auld
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Julia Belyavin photo Julia Belyavin
Kayleigh Bloomfield photo Kayleigh Bloomfield
Abigail Bond photo Abigail Bond
Adam Boyle photo Adam Boyle
Michael Clarke photo Michael Clarke
Vivien Croly photo Vivien Croly
John Dickinson photo John Dickinson
Harriet Dudbridge photo Harriet Dudbridge
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Caroline Elford photo Caroline Elford
Judi Evans photo Judi Evans
Sarah Fincham  photo Miss Sarah Fincham
David Forster photo David Forster
Asha Groves photo Asha Groves
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Jack Harris photo Jack Harris
Julian Horne photo Julian Horne
Sophie Howard photo Sophie Howard
James Hughes photo James Hughes
Jacqueline Humphreys photo Jacqueline Humphreys
Susan Hunter photo Susan Hunter
Zahid Hussain photo Zahid Hussain
Rhodri Jones photo Rhodri Jones
Christopher Jones photo Christopher Jones
Lauren Karmel photo Lauren Karmel
Joss Knight photo Joss Knight
Tim Leader photo Tim Leader
Darren Lewis photo Darren Lewis
Roy Light photo Prof Roy Light
Jonathan Lindfield photo Jonathan Lindfield
James Marwick photo James Marwick
Andrew Mclaughlin photo Andrew Mclaughlin
Ryan Morgan photo Ryan Morgan
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Lucy Reed photo Lucy Reed
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Rachel Russell photo Rachel Russell
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Oliver Wooding photo Oliver Wooding

St John’s Chambers is committed to celebrating and advancing Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing at the Bar

Inclusivity and fairness are of paramount importance to us. We truly believe that the Bar should be populated by those with the requisite gifts, regardless of their background or the challenges which life may have placed in their path.

We provide a working culture in which all our barristers and staff are treated with dignity and respect. We benefit from an environment where our colleagues feel comfortable to be themselves and do their best work. As a result we have been nominated in the Legal Cheek Awards: in 2022 for ‘Best Chambers for Colleague Supportiveness’, and ‘Best Chambers for Work-Life Balance’.

St John’s Chambers understands diversity at the Bar is an issue which requires the work and attention of far more than just one Chambers, however we are determined to do everything in our power to lead from the front on this very important matter. It is an issue which should be close to the heart of everyone interested in justice and fairness.

As part of our continued commitment to promoting diversity we have instigated the following:

  • Mini-Pupillage: As part of the Western Circuit’s ‘BarNone’ initiative we have pledged to offer 50% of mini-pupillages to applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Mentoring: We are also signatories to the ‘BarNone’ mentoring scheme, providing guidance and support to aspiring barristers from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Internships: We are proud to be part of the Bar’s inaugural programme with 10,000 Black Interns which starts in Summer 2022, along with organisations such as Matrix Chambers, Keating, Littleton, and Bridging the Bar. Through this scheme we will be offering paid work experience in Chambers.
  • Secondary School outreach: We are part of the Bar Council’s outreach program, as well as offering work experience placements to Year 10 students in the Bristol / South Gloucestershire / BANES catchment area.
  • Pupillage applications: Before written applications for pupillage are assessed we redact data indicative of sex and ethnic background in order to limit the scope for unconscious bias. We are also proud to be one of the few chambers to redact the identity of the university and school our applicants attended. All applicants are marked according to measurable and transparent criteria based on key competencies. For more information take a look at our pupillage policy here.
  • Bar E-Mentoring Scheme: Visit this page.
  • Webinars: We have put in place a program of webinars promoting equal opportunities for underrepresented groups.
  • New Pupils: We have a ‘buddy’ system for our pupils so that they have someone other than their supervisor to speak to about welfare issues.
  • Barrister and staff recruitment: All of those involved in the recruitment at St John’s Chambers are offered regular Fair Recruitment and Selection training.
  • Work allocation: All of our clerks are offered fair distribution of work training.
  • Flexible working and parental Leave: We have a generous parental leave policy in place to support our members who become parents whether through pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption. In addition, we also have a policy in place to support our members to work flexibly where they need or choose to do so.
  • Wellbeing: St John’s Chambers was one of the first Sets to be awarded the Bar Council Wellbeing at the Bar Certification. St John’s is also a member of Bristol City Council Wellbeing Charter.

Data Diversity Information

Under the terms of the Bar Standards Board’s Equality and Diversity Provisions of the Code of Conduct, each set of barristers’ Chambers is required to collect diversity data from barristers and Chambers’ staff. This data is updated annually and will be published in July 2022.

If you have any comments or suggestions relating to how we could improve our offering on this front, please do not hesitate to contact the Data Diversity Officer Isabelle Mills with your suggestions.

CLIENT: Sarah Walls
COMPANY/FIRM: Stephens Scown
TESTIMONIAL: “As a firm we use St Johns Chambers on a very regular basis – they are one of the “go-to” sets with a wide range of excellent barristers across different levels of experience. Generally, the barristers all have a superb manner with our clients, a detailed understanding and knowledge of the law, and a practical approach to the resolution of family law cases. We have great confidence in using St Johns Chambers. Their clerking team are superb – they are approachable, friendly, and easy to use. They regularly go out of their way to make our lives easier, and to accommodate requests.

CLIENT: Nick Cooper
TESTIMONIAL: “An impressive regional set, going toe-to-toe in terms quality with sets from London, the barristers at St John’s offer high-calibre, insightful and practical advice delivered in a client-focused manner. The clerks, Luke Hodgson and Elaine Jewell-Moore in particular, regularly go the extra mile to deliver service beyond reproach. Whether instructions are complex or straightforward, high or low value, the set is well-placed to fit the right person to the task. Both senior and junior counsel are reliably excellent and leaders or leaders-to-be in their fields.”

CLIENT: Natalie Drew
TESTIMONIAL: “St John’s are always our first choice and have an excellent reputation. A strong chambers with robust individuals who take a practical approach, both in relation to finance and children work. They are not only effective advocates, but they also work alongside you from day one. Clients truly appreciate they have a team around them, helping build tactical solutions and fighting their corner when needed. Their clerks are second to none, friendly and approachable and always armed with solutions, no matter what you throw at them. As a chambers they never fail to impress.”

CLIENT: Stephanie Bradley
COMPANY/FIRM: Alletsons Solicitors
TESTIMONIAL: “I have used St Johns for many years as they have a wide range of experience within their family team to match with the variety of hearings needing to be covered. I have used experienced junior counsel as lead with their own junior which has been a great combination and would use again. I have also been very happy to instruct new counsel recommended by clerks who have never let me down. Would highly recommend.”

CLIENT: Spencer Collier
TESTIMONIAL: “I have recently started to use them and find them an excellent set. They are very well clerked and efficient, and nothing is too much trouble.”