Society's News

BLS features in Bristol Post oldest thriving companies in Bristol

Excerpt from the article: How Bristol’s oldest companies are still thriving after more than 100 years in business They include the city’s last-surviving chocolate maker a wine merchant and a tannery. Why do some companies struggle to survive beyond a year while others flourish for hundreds? Although more than 90 per cent of small companies in Britain will survive one … more

The President’s Charity of the Year 2017/18

                      Please see Freewheelers Leaflet 2017 for the fabulous work these volunteer riders undertake to assist the NHS in moving vital supplies and equipment  around the county. Who knows which one of us or someone we know may have already benefited from their amazing work?

BLS Conference and Meeting Room Suites Room Hire Information

Bristol Law Society’s suite of conference and meeting rooms are conveniently located in the centre between the Waterfront Area and the Old City in a modern building situated on the corner of Colston Avenue and St Stephen’s Avenue.  There are a number of large public car parks within a 5 minute walk from the rooms. For full information on our … more


Annual Awards Dinner 11 October 2018 – Bookings and Nominations now open!

Interactive Brochure See full details of the event, awards and sponsors

Booking Form Deadline 20th September 2018

Nomination Form Deadline 4pm 26th July 2018

BLS looks forward to warmly welcoming you to our flagship awards dinner on 11th October 2018.

Updating the law of insurable interest

Updating the law of insurable interest
20/06/2018 – News story – Law Commission

The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission have today published updated draft legislation intended to pull the law of insurable interest into the 21st century.

Insurable interest is the requirement where someone taking out insurance must be at risk of suffering a loss or disadvantage if the insured event occurs. Without insurable interest, an insurance contract is void.

But the current law, some of which dates from 1774, is antiquated and overly restrictive. It prevents insurers from selling economically and socially useful insurance products that people want to buy including life insurance for loved ones.

Speaking on behalf of both Commissions, Law Commissioner Stephen Lewis said:
“If the Insurable Interest bill were implemented, it would make the law more modern and flexible, allowing people to better protect themselves and their families.
“We are publishing an updated draft to give stakeholders the chance to make sure that the legislation works as intended.”

A focus on life-related insurance
From stakeholder responses to the Law Commissions’ last consultation on insurable interest, it was clear that there was little demand for reform of the law in the area of indemnity and non-life insurance. The updated bill therefore focusses on life insurance and other insurances which relate to human life, such as accident and health cover.

The bill suggests broadening the concept of insurable interest for life-related insurance in the following ways:

  • Providing that individuals have an automatic insurable interest in cohabitants, not just spouses or civil partners.
  • Extending insurable interest to cover children and grandchildren, so that they could lawfully be covered under travel or health policies.
  • Confirming in law that pension trustees and other administrators of group schemes have an insurable interest in the lives of members of the group. This would ensure that employers’ life and health policies have the full support of the law.
  • Allowing for trustees of private trusts to purchase life insurance bonds if the settlor or truster of the trust would have had the necessary insurable interest to do so.

As part of seeking views the Commissions would also welcome further comments from stakeholders as to how and why this Bill is needed and how it would better support the insurance market.
Comments on the updated draft Bill are welcome until Friday 14 September 2018.

Law Commission – Pensions fund reforms set to boost social investment

Pensions fund reforms set to boost social investment

The Government has announced that it intends to act on Law Commission recommendations to clarify and strengthen the laws on pension funds and social investment.

In the final response to the Pension Funds and Social Investment report, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman, and Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, agreed to implement reforms recommended by the Commission which could help unlock more ethical investments.

And alongside this, the Ministers have also pledged to consider what more could be done to increase the consideration of the wider impacts of pension investments.

Law Commissioner Stephen Lewis said:
“This move by Government could help unlock billions of pounds of investment which not only has the potential to do well financially, but also do good at the same time.
“Implementing our recommendations will now bring much needed legal clarity to fund managers and give scheme members a chance to have their say in ethical investments, should they wish to.”

Saving for a better future
The majority of employees in the UK are now saving into a pension and by 2030 the amount invested in defined contribution schemes is expected to total some £1.68 trillion.

This raises questions about how the new pension assets are to be invested and whether at least a proportion could be invested for the wider social good.
In November 2016, the Government asked the Law Commission to look at how far pension schemes may or should consider issues of social impact when making investment decisions. And to identify any legal or regulatory barriers preventing them from doing so.

The Pension Funds and Social Investment report was published in June 2017.

It identified steps which could be taken by the Government and regulators to lift barriers to social investment. This included:

  • The law be amended so that pension funds have to report on their policies on evaluating social impact, considering members’ ethical concerns and exercising stewardship powers.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority should issue guidance about how contract-based pension providers can take into account non-financial factors (such as social impact) when making investment decisions.
  • The Pensions Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority should consider providing further guidance on how pension schemes can manage illiquid investments in their funds, such as investment in infrastructure.
  • Government should consider taking steps to address barriers to consolidation of defined contribution pension schemes so they are more able to invest in illiquid assets.
  • Government should encourage pension providers and the pensions industry to work towards devising a set of terminology around social investment to help pension savers understand where their money is going.

Now in a response published on the Government has agreed to work towards implementing our reforms and pledged to continue “to work with the financial services industry and regulators in growing the positive impact of pensions in the UK”.

LSB Annual Report and Accounts for 2018/18

Please follow this link to a Legal Services Board press release which has been issued to highlight the publication of its Annual Report and Accounts for 2017/18.

JLT response on SRA PII Consultation






Please find attached JLT’s response to the SRA’s Consultation on the proposed reduction to PII levels should it be of assistance in making your own submissions.

The deadline for responses is tomorrow 15th June and the weight of responses from the profession will be a key factor in how the SRA view the feedback so your views do matter!


Bristol SWLST 2018 Walk Report

Bristol legal profession unites to walk for justice for all!
The Bristol legal profession has again come together to raise much needed funds to help support ‘justice for all’.

Teams from a wide range of law firms, chambers and judges took part in a 10K sponsored walk to support the provision of legal fees and advice to help people who otherwise would not be able to afford it. So far the event has raised nearly £7,000, a little down on previous years.

St Paul’s Advice Centre, Avon & Bristol Law Centre, Bar Pro Bono Unit and Bristol PSU also joined in the walk to help raise money.

The Access to Justice Foundation, which champions and helps the poorest and most vulnerable people in local communities across England, Wales and Scotland arranged the walk with the South West Legal Support Trust which started outside Bristol Combined Court Centre and finished at the Cosy Club on Corn Street.

Laura Cassidy, Fundraising and Development Manager, from the South West Legal Support Trust (SWLST) which was formed in 2010, said, “We are pleased with the support we have yet again received from the legal sector across Bristol.

“All the funds raised from the walk go directly to help people and charity organisations who desperately need help and access to legal services”

The South West Legal Support Trust is one of a national network of Legal Support Trusts, working with the Access to Justice Foundation, to facilitate the access to specialist legal advice for the poorest and most vulnerable people in the community.

The organisations supported by the event make a huge difference in the lives of many people. The recent cuts to civil legal aid have not only affected the legal profession, but have also drastically impacted the services provided to members of the public.

Many advice services no longer have the tending to provide free legal services on issues of housing and employment, meaning individuals seeking help and support will either have to pay for advice or do the work themselves without any specialist help.

Meanwhile, the economic downturn has meant thousands more individuals and families are now unable to afford advice and turning to free legal advice agencies for help.

The additional cuts to local government funding of advice services are fighting to survive. Some organisations have merged, meaning already tight resources are being stretched over greater distances, but more frequently, others have ceased to provide services altogether.

The South West Legal Support Trust is determined to make next year’s event bigger and better than ever, if you would be interested in helping out by joining the fundraising committee they would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Clare Carter at

Bristol Family Law Advice Scheme – rota volunteers required

Bristol Family Law Advice Scheme

The Bristol Family Law Scheme operates on Thursdays, every fortnight.

A volunteer lawyer meets clients from 10 am to 4pm at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre.

The scheme is administered by the Personal Support Unit (see details below) who let the volunteers know the names of those attending in advance so that any necessary conflict checks can be carried out. The advice is currently limited to private children law proceedings only.

Volunteers are asked to complete a short form setting out the main issues the client wishes to discuss, so we can track the impact of the scheme.

It is clear that those seeking advice are dealing with some serious issues and the assistance of the volunteers is thus valuable and greatly appreciated. If anyone is interested in joining the rota please contact We ask for just one day of your time a year to keep the scheme running.

PSU volunteers provide practical and emotional support to people going through court proceedings without legal representation. Many of these people are in danger of losing their homes, children or livelihoods. Our volunteers are there to make sure they do not face this on their own.

We do not offer legal advice; instead volunteers help by listening to clients’ issues, organising their paperwork, helping them fill out forms and accompanying them into court hearings.

We are based in the Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre and are open from 9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Clients can drop in or book in advance, contact us on 0117 366 4809.

Risk Management Implications From The Dreamvar Case


GCHQ certificate in social engineering

Get your GCHQ certificate in social engineering awareness to demonstrate to clients your high level of training and commitment to cyber security.

Refreshments, lunch and GCHQ certificate included. 4th July, Engine Shed, Bristol.

You are your organisation’s human firewall. As technical defences get better we are seeing a steep increase in the use of social engineering to enable attackers to gain access to your assets. Attaining a GCHQ certificate in Social Engineering Awareness helps demonstrate your commitment to security to your clients and makes you more confident and capable of defending yourself and your company.

About the trainer
Lisa Forte is an expert speaker on cybercrime, intelligence and online footprints and founder of Red Goat Cyber Security. Lisa began her career working in counter-terrorism intelligence for a UK Government agency. Whilst there she researched the process of online radicalisation by terrorist groups and the lengthy and risky social engineering process undertaken by terrorist recruiters. Lisa then went on to work for one of the UK Police Cyber Crime Units. Lisa left the Cyber Crime Unit in 2017 to form Red Goat Cyber Security which provides GCHQ certified cyber security training as well as helping organisations prepare for a cyber-attack through the use of wargaming. She is frequently speaking at major conferences around the world on cyber security and social engineering.



Bath Legal Profession Survey – help us to help you!

Bristol Law Society’s remit also extends to Bath and surrounding areas. We encourage Bath Lawyers to take part in this short survey to ensure that we continue to build on supporting our members and the Bath legal community in the most appropriate ways.

Your feedback is really important to us and to encourage you to take part, all completed surveys returned by close of business on 13 July will be entered into a prize draw where the first selected person will win a bottle of Champagne.

All responses will be anonymised in publishing any survey findings and by submitting this form you agree that we will process your data in line with our privacy notice.

Click here to start the survey!