Society's News

Corporate Members 2019

3PB Albion Chambers Ashfords Barcan + Kirby Burges Salmon Clarke Willmott Cooke Painter Ltd Clyde & Co DAC Beachcroft Devereux & Co Enterprise Chambers The Family Law Practice Foot Anstey (including Enable Law) Fussell Wright Gregg Latchams Ltd Guildhall Chambers Irwin Mitchell Solicitors Kelcey & Hall Lyons Davidson Marc White & Co Meade King Michelmores LLP MS Rubric Osborne Clarke … 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


Foot Anstey advises Future plc on acquisition

Top 100 law firm Foot Anstey has advised FTSE 250 media enterprise Future plc on its purchase of video content creator Barcroft Studios.

Future, a global multi-platform media company with offices in Bath, London and New York, acquired the production house, whose work has been shown on platforms ranging from the BBC to Netflix, for a total of £23.5 million.

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Future, including TI Media last month, and bookends a strong year for the company which announced in its year end results that revenue has jumped by 70 per cent, and pre-tax profits are up to £12.7 million.

The purchase of Barcroft will also allow Future to leverage the studio’s video expertise across its range of titles, which includes websites such as TechRadar and GamesRadar.

Corporate Partner Mark Millar, assisted by Chris Cook and Arron Jolliffe, led the Foot Anstey team advising on the deal. Mark said “Purchasing Barcroft Studios is a decisive move by Future, who are clearly thinking about the shape of the media landscape in years to come.”

“Acquiring this prestigious video production company, which produces content for the likes of the BBC and Netflix, will help Future to deliver that ambition.”

Sarah Hill, Head of Legal at Future said, “It was great to work with Foot Anstey on implementing a key transaction within our acquisition strategy. Under what was a very tight timetable, the Foot Anstey team’s pragmatism, commitment and drive to push matters forward was greatly appreciated, and we felt like their team was an extension of ours given the collaborative working relationship.”

Feeding Bristol – BLS President’s Charity of the Year













Registered in March 2018, Feeding Bristol acts as an umbrella organisation for social causes in Bristol working towards alleviating food insecurity. FB aims to provided and guide targeted efforts in order to improve the overall circumstances of the general population.

Driving systemic change to increase food security across all social and cultural communities of Bristol – ultimately striving for ‘Zero Hunger’.

Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of immediate provision for those in need, and influencing long-term local economic and national policy changes that aim to improve food security of all Bristolians.

Key strategic priorities

  • Improve immediate provision for those in need, with a particular emphasis on children and vulnerable adults
  • Increase the local community’s enthusiasm, knowledge and capability to grow and cook food
  • Significantly increase regional food production and the supply of good quality local food to the city within a sustainable economic framework
  • Work with local and national government to influence policy and drive greater food supply


As an organisation, we believe in supporting the city to support itself. As a platform to strategically guide Bristol in decision making that is complimentary to one another, the city will be able to deliver more sustainable and effective long-term solutions to zero-hunger

Who we work with

Feeding Bristol works with a wide range of organisations and businesses across Bristol. We know that communities within Bristol can suffer from a range of different issues, so it is important that we all work together in providing a holistic level of support to those in need. Feeding Bristol will continue to catalyse and link the different industries, businesses and grassroots organisations, in an effort to more effectively deliver food solutions across the city – and build a city where no child goes hungry.

Who we work for

As one city, Bristol has a vast array of individuals and organisations focusing on helping to improve the circumstances of people who are less fortunate. Through targeting the food security needs, Feeding Bristol acts as an umbrella organisation for the city, supporting initiatives to get started, upscale or collaborate with others where relevant. By providing a central point of contact to those focusing on tackling similar issues, Bristol can act to ensure a permanent and positive step change towards zero hunger

Feeding Bristol targets the overall success of the city, and not one single project. Long-term success will be two-fold: 1) an increase in engagement and collaborative working within our communities, and 2) financially self-sustainable initiatives that support the food security needs within Bristol.

IT Help please! Are you upgrading equipment?

Firms are you upgrading your computer equipment?  Instead of shipping off the old ones to landfill, would you prefer that someone makes good use of them?

Bristol CAB have come up against a problem.  All 18 of their desk top computers run Windows 7 which from February 2020 is losing the support.  They need to update all 18 so they can run Windows 10.  They are unable to stand the cost of £8,500 to replace them but in a catch 22 situation where it is needed to preserve security/integrity and use for certain contracts.

If you are replacing and can assist the Bristol CAB, please contact Sue Evans, Director, CAB Bristol by email –

Many thanks

Confidential contact details in Family Proceedings – Notice from BFJC

Please adopt the following practice if your client wishes to keep their contact details confidential:

Applications submitted by e-mail

  • If you are filing an application by e-mail please send the C8 Confidential Contact Details form as a separate attachment.
  • Provide an alert in the e-mail that a party has confidential contact details.

Applications submitted by post

  •  In your covering letter please provide an alert that a party has confidential contact details.

Subsequent correspondence with the court

  • Please ensure that any confidential contact details are redacted.

Challenging Discrimination and Unfairness at Work

25 million households have Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) included in their standard house or car insurance (and some bank accounts). This includes cover to pay for legal advice and representation in many areas of law, including discrimination and unfair practices at work – so thousands of people who would not qualify for legal aid can access justice using LEI.

LEI also allows policyholders to choose their own lawyer. Bristol Law Centre is a leading expert in discrimination and employment law and we can advise on strength of case, and ensure workers get the best advice, representation and result.

You can…

Spread the word
We have a range of campaign materials you can use – contact and we’ll send them over to you.

Refer your client
Refer to the specialist discrimination and employment team at Bristol Law Centre – email or tel 0117 916 7704

Check out our ‘Take a closer look’ campaign
We have a range of materials at, including an animation explaining LEI and how it works.




Wessex Searches introduces Lawyer Checker’s Account and Entity Screen – Special Introductory December offer!

Click to enlarge

Download PDF here: 8125 lawyer check news

The Law Society Manifesto ahead of the General Election

The Law Society new manifesto highlights their key policy priorities ahead of the general election. They’re calling on the next government to fix our broken criminal justice system, make the legal system accessible to all, maintain the attractiveness of the UK as a global legal centre and jurisdiction of choice post-Brexit, and ensure the UK leads the way on new technology.

Write to your local general election candidates with this easy tool to write to your general election candidates to urge them to support our vision for law and justice.


BLS welcomes new President, Ben Holt

Ben Holt, Partner, Dispute Resolution, VWV

I am delighted and honoured to take over as President of Bristol Law Society. I look forward to representing my colleagues and the profession across our fantastic city and nationally, promoting community engagement, diversity and inclusion and of course celebrating the Society’s historic 250th anniversary with you.

In addition to our usual offering of training, networking and social events, over the past year, the Society has successfully co-ordinated a number of new local collaborations. We have helped launch the hugely popular Bristol & Bath Legal Tech initiative, bringing together our innovative lawyers and technology experts to consider our role in the future of legal tech. Another highlight was the Society’s involvement in the Feeding Bristol campaign, where 60% of volunteer time was from local lawyers. We are also looking to launch a Bristol showcasing event in 2020 to celebrate the sectors that our region is most well-known for and to highlight our legal expertise that compliment those areas.

We continue our close alliance with the other 4 major legal centres outside of London, representing a total of around 15,000 lawyers – which allows us to have a stronger voice on national issues when representing you in discussions with the national Law Society and the SRA.

As a not for profit society, we can only continue our work with the on-going support of our dedicated members, all of whom help make Bristol Law Society one of the largest, most active and forward-thinking local law societies in England and Wales.

Thank you for your continued support.


Stamp Appeal!

Can readers assist our very own Events and Membership Co-ordinator, Clair Ponting in collecting used stamps in aid of  Clic Sargent?

Clair has set herself a challenge of collecting 8kgs of stamps by December 2019.  1kg of stamps will help a family stay in accommodation close to a hospital where their loved one is receiving treatment.  There are 8 treatment centres around the UK, including Bristol and Cardiff, hence wanting to collect 8kgs to assist each centre.

Clair’s motivation for doing this comes from her 15 year old godson being diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia in October 2018, thankfully whilst rare it is highly treatable.  She wanted to do something to help make the families lives easier and given her accident prone nature flinging herself off buildings or bungee jumping wasn’t an option!

If you have any used stamps, ideally with a 1cm border, please drop them off at Bristol Law Society’s office, 12 Colston Avenue or if you have a large amount, do let Clair know and she will come and collect them.


Many thanks in anticipation.


Expert witnesses give evidence ‘in the hot tub’

In a recent case in which Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, Roger Isaacs was giving evidence, the judge ordered that a procedure known as hot-tubbing should be adopted. Despite what this photo suggests, the term has nothing to do with jacuzzies but actually refers to what is more formally known as witness conferencing.



Typically, under English Law, witnesses give their evidence one after the other. However, in hot-tubbing all the experts of like discipline are sworn in together and are asked questions by the judge.

It seems likely that ‘hot-tubbing’ is to become ever more common, not least because the experience of the courts is that it saves considerable judicial time and, as the Ministry of Justice is all too keenly aware, time is money.

Cross-examination can be a daunting prospect for some but those who are likely to perform best in the hot-tub will need very particular character traits. The traditional scenario in which a barrister cross-examines a forensic accountant pits an expert in one discipline (law) against an expert in another (accountancy).

There is, therefore, always the prospect that the accountant will be able to bamboozle whoever is cross-examining him or her. By contrast, in the hot-tub, an accountant is pitted against accountant.

By giving evidence simultaneously, direct comparisons will inevitably be drawn between two opposing experts and whichever is able to give the most cogent and convincing evidence is likely to overshadow his or her counterpart.

One can easily sympathise with any judge who, faced with the prospect of three solid days of expert accountancy evidence, concludes that any alternative short of self-mutilation would be appealing.

It is, therefore, perhaps not entirely surprising that the suggestion of using hot-tubbing in this recent case had its genesis in a surfeit of accountants. That said, if evidence is to be given in this way, the judge has to lead a process in which he is required to undertake a proactive role as chair and inquisitor.

For anyone used to the English adversarial approach to justice, it is a wholly alien experience to see a judge engaging in what is a positively Napoleonic and inquisitorial style of interrogation of witnesses.

Taking each issue on which, the experts disagree in turn the judge typically repeats questions put to the first expert to the second and third in a manner vaguely reminiscent of the Blind Date TV show in which contestants famously put “the same question to number two please”.

It soon becomes apparent that any interrogation by Counsel is somewhat redundant on the basis that if the judge had considered a question relevant or significant, he would have already asked it.

One of the aspects of traditional cross-examination that is highlighted by hot-tubbing is the fact that Counsel has to anticipate which issues are likely to be relevant to the judge and inevitably time will be spent dealing with matters on which the judge has either already been persuaded or which he considers irrelevant. By contrast, allowing the judge to be the primary inquisitor means that he can “cut to the chase”.

The effect is dramatic in terms of timing but the exceptional speed puts further pressure on experts who have far less thinking time in the hot-tub than they would have if they were to face traditional cross-examination. That said, if the length of the trial can be reduced, that can have a significant impact on the costs which is good news for litigants.