Society's News

President’s Charity of the Year – Bristol Children’s Help Society

                            The Bristol Children’s Help Society is a privately funded volunteer led charity that owns and runs Barton Camp our 100 bed residential children’s centre in the beautiful Mendip hills. Barton Camp operates through the year as a base where disadvantaged local children can enjoy a few … more

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

No 12, The Meeting Rooms – Conference, Meeting and Mediation Rooms for Hire

Bristol Law Society’s suite of conference and meeting rooms including a suite of mediation 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 … more


JLT PII Market Update

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278793 Professional Indemnity Insurance Market Update




Brexit – Law Society Support for Members

As the political uncertainty continues, both the Law Society of England and Wales and the UK Government have both published information to support businesses, and specifically for solicitors.

The Government has published a series of notices on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The most relevant of these for solicitors are handling civil legal cases involving EU countries and providing services including those of a qualified professional. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has also published guidance for EU lawyers practising in the UK.

The Law Society has carried out extensive work on the potential effects of Brexit on its members, and to date has published a series of documents that will be of use to solicitors in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The Law Society’s must-read guidance highlighting the changes that will occur and the steps members can take if we leave the EU in March a deal can be found here:

The Law Society has prepared an extensive overview of the national regulations that apply in each jurisdiction in the EU/EFTA. This can be requested by Law Society members from the International Department at

The Law Society also forms part of the UK Delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), who recently published extensive guidance on the effect of all Brexit scenarios on practice rights both for EU lawyers working in the UK and for UK lawyers working in the EU










VWV approach law firm network celebrates 5 years since launch

Operated by VWV, VWV approach is a free network for law firms, run by Jo Campbell (Senior Associate/Business Development Manager), and Nikki Kenna (VWV approach Administrator), who live and breathe the ethos of the network and of VWV which puts the client at the centre of everything they do. The free network was launched in February 2014 and continues to grow both locally and nationally.

Law firms who join the network can refer their clients through VWV approach safe in the knowledge that there is a non-poaching agreement in place. Jo and Nikki know that this reassurance that member firms won’t lose their clients to VWV is critical to the integrity of the arrangement and are active protectors of the relationship between the referring firm and their client.

With more than 120 firms in the network, the team are kept busy responding to requests from those firms to assist their clients, or indeed the firms themselves.

It is not unusual for a client to tell Jo and Nikki they have tried numerous firms before coming to VWV approach – the record is believed to be a client speaking to 15 firms before getting to Jo! With the enviable network of VWV approach contacts, Jo managed to find someone to speak to the client within an hour of that initial call.

The VWV approach network is also a great support system for the law firms who are part of it, as those firms benefit from free seminars and networking opportunities with other local lawyers and are actively encouraged to treat VWV staff as their own colleagues. Jo and Nikki arrange and host the seminar programme and are very much the ‘faces’ of the network. They understand that trust is vital to the success of the network and that their interaction with the solicitors and staff at the firms who are part of the network are vital to the ongoing strength of the group.

Glyn Edwards, St John’s Chambers – Funeral Service 11.15am 19th February at St Stephen’s Church

It is with great sadness that we hear  that Glyn Edwards of St John’s Chambers passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning.

We understand he was at home in his final days lovingly surrounded by Jo, his wife and his family and died peacefully.

He was a much loved friend and colleague of many and all at St John’s Chambers will miss him enormously.

A funeral service is to be held at St. Stephen’s Church, 21 St Stephen’s Street, Bristol at 11.15am on Tuesday 19 February 2019.

This will be followed by a private cremation.

Refreshments will be served immediately following the funeral service in the Sansovino Hall at the Bristol Harbour Hotel where the family will attend after the private committal.

Family flowers only please.

Any charitable donations may be made to Arthur E. Davey & Sons Ltd, 82 Silver Street, Nailsea, BS48 2DS (01275 852307) to be shared between St Peter’s Hospice, Cancer Research UK and Parkinson’s UK (in memory of Glyn’s late Father).

Year 11 Work Experience – Can you support any students?

A number of local schools including Bridge Learning Campus have been in touch to see if we can help find students who are trying to find a work experience placement within a local solicitors firm as part of their Year 11 Work Placement Schemes.

One of the weeks students are looking for is Monday 1 – Friday 5 July.

If  you or your firm might be able to host please contact

University Negotiation Competition – Could you help?

The University of Law are looking for people willing to give feedback to undergraduate/GDL/LPC/BPTC students taking part in a negotiation competition and to help to select teams who might progress to the national and international stages of the competition. A legal background is not necessary; we are looking for people with an interest in negotiation skills who are prepared to give encouraging feedback to students on their approach.

The competition is run by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), and will be hosted at the University of Law on Saturday 2nd March from 12 pm – 5.30 pm. We are expecting students representing various Universities across the South-West and Wales.

There will be a briefing for the judges to provide guidance on how to score the teams and the focus of the feedback. There is also time to eat the lunch provided, read the scenarios, and mingle with other judges between 12 and 1pm. Each judge will be paired with another judge and will watch two negotiations during the course of the afternoon. The teams proceeding to the national final will be announced by 6:00pm and there will be wine and nibbles if you would like to stay to hear the result.

The competition will be taking place in Bristol at The University of Law, Bristol, Temple Circus House, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6HG. The nearest station is Bristol Temple Meads which is 5 minutes’ walk away. Full details of how to get to the University of Law, Bristol are here:

If you are potentially interested in being involved as a judge for the negotiations (or know someone who might be) or if you want to ask any questions about the event, please do contact Zoe King ( or the organiser of the competition, Dalitso Tembo (

Zoe King
Campus Dean, Bristol and Exeter
The University of Law

Fix the broken system – back The Law Society criminal justice campaign

The Law Society has today launched a campaign on criminal legal aid, highlighting the broken system; inefficiencies; low fees and the impact on access to justice of the failure to uprate the means test.

The animation is live on YouTube; please click to like and share!

Movers & Shakers


New Year announcement reflects talent and dedication at Wards Solicitors

Wards Solicitors is celebrating the start of 2019 with a record number of promotions.

Seven lawyers across a range of specialisms and offices have been promoted to Partner with a further three becoming Solicitor Associates.

Reputation for excellence

The Conveyancing team, which has a reputation for excellence and reliability built on a high number of personal recommendations and excellent satisfaction levels, sees five promotions.

Luke Hewitt, who works in the Nailsea office, Matthew Pitt in Keynsham and Pam Williams in Henleaze, all become Partners while Tom Bowering in Bristol and Keri McNeill in Weston-super-Mare are new Solicitor Associates.

More Partner promotions

The range of experience within Wards Solicitors is also reflected by four more key promotions. Louise Boustead, part of the Family Law and Divorce Team and manager of the Yate office and Michael Gupwell, Notary Public and criminal law specialist, both become Partners along with Trusts specialist Mary Harty and Nailsea-based Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity lawyer, Rebecca Purchase.

Claire Mizen, also part of the Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team in Staple Hill, is promoted to Solicitor Associate.

Hard work and dedication

Wards Solicitors’ Managing Partner, David Sheridan, says: “It’s fantastic to start 2019 with such positive news. Each and every promotion is thoroughly deserved and a huge achievement reflecting hard work and dedication and it’s heartening to see so many areas of legal specialism represented. Well done to everyone.”

Inquiry into access of justice implications of HMCTS court modernisation programme – we need your feedback!

The Justice Select Committee have launched an inquiry into the access to justice implications of the HMCTS court modernisation programme, including on the increasing use of digital and video technology and of court closures.

The announcement can be found here which also calls for written evidence to be submitted by Monday 11 March. The Law Society will be submitting evidence in accordance with the terms of reference (listed below) and would like to hear any views on these by 1st February. The Law Society would encourage all local law societies and interested organisations to also submit their own written evidence to the Justice Select Committee.

BLS intends to make submissions by 11th March and would invite members to comment on and provide evidence of issues to us to present on behalf of local practitioners. We would also encourage members to respond directly to the JSC to ensure they appreciate the volume of concern there may be around some of these issues.

You might want to give consideration to:

1. What will be the likely effects of the reforms, both implemented and proposed, on access to justice in relation to:
a. civil justice?
b. family justice?
c. criminal justice?
d. administrative justice, particularly as delivered by the tribunals system?
e. those who are digitally excluded or require support to use digital services?

2. What are the effects on access to justice of court and tribunal centre closures, including the likely impact of closures that have not yet been implemented; and of reductions in HMCTS staffing under the reform programme? For users, how far can online processes and video hearings be a sufficient substitute for access to court and tribunal buildings?

3. Have the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS consulted effectively on the reforms, and maintained sufficient communication, with:
a. Judicial office holders at all levels of seniority?
b. The legal professions and the advice sector?
c. Other relevant stakeholders?

4. Have the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS taken sufficient steps to evaluate the impact of reforms implemented so far, including those introduced as pilots; and have they made sufficient commitment to evaluation in future?

BLS/ UWE legal placement scheme in ninth year – Can you help?

This is our ninth year in collaboration with UWE and their work placement scheme.  The object of the scheme is simple.  We want to enable those students who have not yet secured a training contract to gain invaluable experience in a law firm and hopefully allow them to enhance their CV and career prospects at the same time.

Over the last few years, we have been able to place over 25 GDL and LPC students each year in various firms in and around Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, many of whom would otherwise not have had this opportunity.  The feedback from participating firms confirmed that they too benefited greatly from their involvement.  It is a great opportunity for firms to provide meaningful guidance and motivation to some very talented students who, for one reason or another, haven’t had their break yet.

If you are interested in participating in the scheme by offering a student some experience, please check out the UWE Placements letter 2019 for details of the scheme and get in touch with