New Head of Chambers at St John’s Buildings

St John’s Buildings Barristers’ Chambers has appointed Richard Norton as Head of Chambers.

Commencing in November, Richard’s term as Head of Chambers will run for the next three years. He will be supported by Frances Heaton QC, who has been appointed to the role of Deputy Head of Chambers.

With over 26 years’ experience as a personal injury and clinical negligence barrister, Richard has been on the Board of Directors at the Chambers for more than 10 years. In recommending Richard as an expert in his field, legal directory Chambers and Partners describes him as being “efficient, good with clients and extremely competent”. Richard’s experience includes advising on cases of delayed diagnosis, surgical negligence, birth damage and GP negligence.

Frances Heaton QC is a family law barrister with more than 30 years’ experience, specialising in children law. She is regularly instructed in cases involving exceptionally serious injuries, death, serious sexual abuse, exploitation, serious neglect, and learning and mental health difficulties. Frances was called to the Bar in 1984.

St John’s Buildings is one of the largest barristers’ chambers in the country, housing 240 barristers and more than 70 employees across offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Chester. It is known for its innovative approach to the use of technology to drive efficiency and to support its barristers in the changing legal landscape.

Richard succeeds Sally Harrison QC in the role who held the position for five years. In her time as Head of Chambers, St John’s Buildings has benefitted from unprecedented success, seeing income grow by 12 per cent, with profit achieved in each of the last six years, and a rise in the share price of the company. The Chambers has also won a series of awards, including: Chambers of the Year at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2017, as well as at Family Law Awards 2016, Manchester Legal Awards 2015 and the Personal Injury Awards 2018, and the firm is currently nominated for the Chambers and Partners Bar Awards.

 Chief Executive Chris Ronan said of the appointment: “Richard is an excellent appointment as Head of Chambers. He has been right at the heart of the success we have seen during Sally’s reign, and will continue to ensure Chambers strives for even greater prosperity in the future.

“At a time when the legal industry has come under increasing pressure on price, due to competition and austerity cuts, we have managed to buck the trend in increasing our profitability and our barrister income. The Board and I are confident that, with Richard and Frances’ involvement, this growth will continue.”

Richard Norton said “I am very proud to have been elected Head of Chambers by my peers. Sally and the Board have done a superb job in steering Chambers with exceptional commitment over the past five years, and I hope to build on the opportunities this has created. I am fortunate to have the support of Frances and the rest of the Board, as well as the exceptional staff at St John’s Buildings, and I am confident that we will continue the great work that has already taken place.”


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