We welcome Liberty Crawford as a tenant of chambers.

Members and clerks of chambers are delighted to congratulate Liberty following the successful completion of her specialist family law pupillage and we welcome her as a tenant of chambers.

Christian Gape, Head of the Family Team:-

“Liberty has very quickly gained a reputation as a skilled advocate with a client focused manner.  Liberty has attracted particular praise in family finance and private law children work where her robust but level-headed approach has gained plaudits from clients and colleagues alike.  I am very pleased to welcome her to Magdalen Chambers where she will add strength and depth to our busy family team.”

Chambers continued success with rankings in Chambers and Partners 2021

Chambers are thrilled to achieve success for another year having been recognised by Chambers and Partners 2021. Over three areas of law, Employment, Family and Planning, six members have also been individually ranked together with recognition for the clerking team.

“The clerks are friendly, very helpful and will liaise directly with the court and other clerks regarding hearings if there is a clash. They are easy to deal with.” “Grainne McGovern, senior family clerk, is an excellent clerk providing information regarding fees and availability of counsel in a quick and efficient manner.”

Employment

Nigel Moore (Band 3)

“He is technically excellent, very experienced and a high-quality advocate.”

Family/Matrimonial

Christopher Naish (Band 1)

“He is articulate and gently persuasive, grabbing the ear of the judges, and his witness handling is second to none.” “He quickly and easily establishes an excellent working relationship with clients.”

Rupert Chapman (Band 2)

“He is very easy to deal with, extremely thorough and always has a good rapport with clients.”

Carol Mashembo (Band 2)

“She is a firm favourite to instruct in financial remedy proceedings given her great client care, bedside manner, her thoughtful preparation and her availability to deal with queries in a timely manner.” “She always adopts a meticulously thorough approach in dealing with matters, which puts everyone involved at ease.”

Elizabeth Willsteed (Band 3)

“She brought balance and insight into the case and was perceptive and unflappable.” “She’s a class act. She knows family law inside out and she is excellent in her knowledge.”

Planning

Gavin Collett (Band 2)

“Gavin is great for regulatory and prosecution matters.” “He is very personable and knowledgeable.”

Many congratulations to all involved.

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Magdalen Chambers ranked as Leading Set by the Legal 500 2021

Magdalen Chambers is delighted once again to be  recognised by the Legal 500 as a leading set on the Western Circuit in the Legal 500 UK Bar Guide 2021, with eight members of chambers individually ranked in their areas of expertise. Chambers is a recommended set on the Western Circuit in three categories – , Family and Children Law, Planning and Environment law and Property and Construction Disputes.

We are particularly proud that our family team has been promoted to Tier 2 in this year’s guide, reflecting as it does the continued growth and development of the team’s reputation and coverage.The authors of the guide wrote that:

“Magdalen Chambers has ‘an extremely strong family team‘ and offers ‘a wide range of barristers who without fail are top quality, therefore, they are usually my first phone call as they are helpful and friendly‘. Areas of expertise include private and public law children law, adoption, and financial remedy on divorce. At the senior end, Susan Campbell QC is an experienced silk, ‘popular with clients and has a gentle but persuasive manner; intellectually sharp‘. With a broad practice covering most areas, Christopher Naish is ‘calm, and approachable but has a rapier-sharp advocacy style which he can adapt to suit cases‘. Carol Mashembo is praised for having ‘attention to detail that is second to none‘ and for delivering ‘detailed and precise presentation in court‘, whether it be in relation to children matters or financial. Elizabeth Willsteed is a go-to for children law matters; for family financial dispute resolution matters and TOLATA cases, Rupert Chapman is ‘always meticulous in his preparation‘.”

Five members of the family team have been ranked as leading individuals:

  • Susan Campbell QC is ranked as a leading silk in Child Law (Public and Private): ‘She has an innate ability to put clients at ease in the most upsetting and trying situations. She goes the extra mile to ensure that clients feel that they have had their say but also that they understand the process.’;
  • Christopher Naish is ranked in Tier 1 for both Child Law and Financial Remedies: ‘In terms of numerous strengths, Mr Naish is technically excellent, has a quick mind and a very personable manner with clients. Such is his ability, I have complete confidence in whatever area of Family Law I instruct him in.’;
  • Joint head of chambers Rupert Chapman is ranked at Tier 2 for Financial Remedies: ’Rupert has a sharp analytical mind that suits him particularly well to complex and technical cases; in particular cases involving trusts and business assets. He is friendly and approachable and easy to work with as an instructing solicitor. Clients like him.’;
  • Carol Mashembo is rated as Tier 2 for both Child Law and Financial Remedies: ‘Good affinity with clients, gives clear and firm advice. Clients find her pleasant to work with. Excellent preparation and analysis of facts, issues and law. Detailed and precise presentation in court. Always prepared to go the extra yards to get the case right.’; and
  • Elizabeth Willsteed, ranked Tier 4 for Child Law: ‘a highly skilled and effective advocate in the courtroom producing concise written legal documents and excelling in submissions and cross examination. She is highly regarded amongst clients and solicitors alike.

“Magdalen Chambers’ commercial, property, and Chancery team handles national cases as well as those on the Western Circuit. Russell James specialises in housing and homelessness work, acting often for clients with disabilities, as well as taking on landlord and tenant, as well as boundaries and easements work. Natasha Bellinger has particular expertise in social housing, specialising in possession claims, injunctions, and committals. She uses her practice in personal injury and environmental law to take on cross-discipline matters, such as occupier’s liability. Also of note, the set recently introduced a direct access platform.”

Three members of our civil team are individually recognised:

  • Natasha Bellinger is ranked at Tier 2 for Property and Construction: ‘Always very thoughtful and responsive. Pragmatic, thorough, and great with clients. Friendly and approachable and always willing to look into matters early on. Great on her feet.
  • Gavin Collett is described as ‘highly experienced in planning, highways, and rights of way matters’; and
  • Russell James is rated as Tier 2 for Property and Construction: ‘Russell is our first choice for complex housing work.’;

Joint head of Chambers Rupert Chapman said ”While it is always encouraging to read positive reviews in the legal directories, this year’s edition of the Legal 500 reflects Magdalen Chambers’ continuing growth as one of the prominent sets in the South West for all forms of civil and family work. It is a testament to the hard work and adaptability of our barristers and clerks that chambers not only receives such positive feedback from our clients but that they show how we continue to go from strength to strength in even the most challenging of legal markets.”

Magdalen Chambers

Magdalen Chambers Welcomes Jonathan Ward

Magdalen Chambers are pleased to announce that Jonathan Ward has joined chambers.

Jonathan, who was formerly a solicitor in a local firm, is a welcome addition to the Magdalen Chambers Civil Team practising predominantly in property, commercial and construction litigation. We are delighted that he has decided to join us and add to our specialist commercial and property and chancery teams.

 

Jonathan says:

“I am delighted to be joining Magdalen Chambers.  Having worked with them for some time as a solicitor, they are a natural choice following my transfer to the bar.  It is testament to the quality of their legal services that even during these challenging times, Chambers is in a position to expand and invite me to join.”

Gas Safety and Section 21 Notices – “With you everything’s gas”*

The Court of Appeal has (on 18 June 2020) handed down judgment in the appeal of Trecarrel House v Rouncefield [2020] EWCA Civ 760 ruling on the consequences for the validity of a section 21 notice in landlord and tenant proceedings of late compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The effect of this decision is to overrule both the County Court decision in this case and in Carridon Property Limited v Shooltz(2018), which had held that failure to serve a gas safety record before a new tenant of an assured shorthold tenancy went into occupation was an irremediable breach meaning that no valid notice pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘section 21 notice’) could be served.

Before turning to the decision of the Court of Appeal it is helpful to remind oneself of the legislative provisions relating to gas safety records and section 21 notices that the court was required to interpret. The important points are these:

(1) By amendments made by the Deregulation Act 2015 a new section 21A of the Housing Act 1988 was inserted. This provided that a section 21 notice may not be given at a time when the landlord is in breach of a prescribed requirement.

(2) Regulation 2 of the Assured Shorthand Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 made paragraphs 36(6) and 36(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 prescribed requirements for the purpose of section 21A of the Housing Act 1988.

(3) Regulation 36(6) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 requires a copy of the gas safety record made pursuant to regulation 36(3)(c) to be given to a tenant within 28 days of the check and for a copy of the last record to be given to any new tenant “before the tenant occupies those premises”.

(4) Regulation 36(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 provides that where there is no relevant gas appliance in any room of the tenant, but there is in the building, a copy of the record can be displayed in a prominent position in the premises instead of giving it to the tenant.

The issues that the Court of Appeal had to consider in Trecarrel House Ltd v Rouncefield [2020] EWCA Civ 760 were three:

(1) It was common ground that a copy of the gas safety record had not been given to the tenant prior to her taking up occupation of the property, although there was one and this had been provided prior to the service of the section 21 notice. The question for the court was therefore whether this breach of regulation 36(6)(b) could be remedied by late compliance.

(2) A subsequent gas safety check had been carried out longer than 12 months after the previous one and since regulation 36(3)(a) required a check to be carried out “at intervals of not more than 12 months since it was last checked”, the question for the court was whether this was fatal.

(3) It was contended by the tenant that she had not been given the most recent gas safety record prior to service of the section 21 notice.

By a majority of 2:1 the Court of Appeal decided these issues as follows:

(1) The obligation in regulation 36(6) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to provide a gas safety record to a new tenant before that tenant goes into occupation can be complied with late. As long as it is served before or at the same time as the section 21 notice, the section 21 notice will be valid.

(2) Failure to carry out a subsequent gas safety check and provide the record within 12 months is not fatal either. Patten LJ said: “I am not persuaded that a failure to carry out the next safety check within 12 months of the last one means that a landlord cannot comply with paragraph 6(a) as a prescribed requirement if he serves the tenant with a copy of the record once the check has been carried out.”

(3) On the factual issue of whether or not the tenant had been given a copy of the most recent gas safety record, raised in a Respondents Notice, the case needed to be remitted to the County Court for a determination of this point to be made.

In conclusion, the overriding message of this decision is that late compliance will be good for the purpose of a section 21 notice provided there is compliance at the time of or prior to the service of the section 21 notice.

 

*(Timon to Pumbaa in the Lion King).

Rupert Chapman appointed Deputy District Judge

Chambers is delighted to congratulate our Joint Head of Chambers, Rupert Chapman on his appointment by the Lord Chief Justice as a Deputy District Judge appointed to the Western Circuit.
Rupert will also continue to accept instructions in his specialist areas of matrimonial finance disputes, private law children matters and court of protection.

Court of Appeal Finds That The Stay On Possession Proceedings Due To Covid-19 Is Lawful

On 11 May 2020, the Court of Appeal gave judgment in the appeal of Arkin v Marshall [2020] EWCA Civ 620, which was concerned with whether or not the stay on possession proceedings due to last until 25 June 2020 is lawful.

The Court of Appeal held that Practice Direction 51Z is a pilot, is lawful and is compatible with article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal also considered whether a court has the power to lift the stay and said that “although as a matter of strict jurisdiction a judge retains a theoretical power to lift any stay, it would almost always be wrong in principle to use it. We do not, however, rule out that there might be the most exceptional circumstances in which a stay could be lifted, in particular if it operated to defeat the expressed purposes of PD 51Z itself.”

The Court of Appeal also provided some helpful clarification on the effect of the stay on directions in possession claims. It explained that the provision in the Practice Direction that disapplies the stay for “an application for case management directions which are agreed by all the parties” (paragraph 2A(c)) is for the purpose of applying to the court to have agreed directions embodied in a court order “and nothing more”. This will allow parties to agree dates that post date the end of the stay thereby ensuring that the case is not delayed for a directions hearing or for directions to be agreed after the stay expires. The parties may also agree to take certain steps, such as voluntary disclosure during the stay, but the court cannot require them to do so. Furthermore, a party cannot apply to enforce compliance with agreed directions during the stay, but will be able to rely on any failure to do what was agreed once the stay is lifted and the court is looking at making any revised directions.

Family pupil Liberty Crawford is on her feet.

We are delighted to announce that Liberty has successfully completed her specialist family first six pupillage. She has now entered into her second six months and is able to accept instructions.

Liberty has been fully trained to use the main cloud-based video platforms (Sykpe for Business, Zoom and Microsoft Teams), in order to conduct remote hearings from home together with telephone conferencing. Papers can be accepted electronically and our clerking team will be happy to help you with any advice.

During Lockdown Liberty provided Covid19 Guidance for Local Authorities which was published by Class Legal. See the link below.

Class Legal Covid19 Guidance