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BLS Annual Awards Dinner 19th October 2017 – Bookings & Nominations open

We are delighted to announce that bookings and nominations for this years annual awards dinner on 19th October at Bristol City Marriot are now open! For full details of the dinner and the awards open for nomination please see BLS Annual Awards Dinner Brochure 2017 BLS Annual Awards Dinner Booking Form 2017 BLS Annual Awards Dinner Nomination Form 2017  

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


Becky Moyce, President, Annual Awards Dinner Speech 2017

Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, judges, ladies and gentlemen …….It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 8th Bristol Law Society’s annual awards dinner. It’s hard for me to believe it’s 11 months since I took over as president of BLS although when I look back at everything that’s happened this year I’m surprised we’ve managed to cram so much in… here’s a quick re-cap!

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As you can see it’s been a busy year! We’ve had some incredible highlights as we moved into and started to operate from our new premises (photo) and some unexpected challenges (photo) and that’s just locally. 2017 has been the year which brought us the new Business and Property Courts, the SQE, the growth of apprenticeships, fixed costs reviews and now we are all preparing for the implementation of the GDPR in May 2018. We’ve seen a great deal of change for the profession. Each change taken independently brings associated challenges for our firms. There are requirements for related changes to systems and processes, staff training and the financial burden this brings. Cumulatively the impact of these changes is significant.

A recent article in the Law Gazette summed this up stating that….‘In the last 20 years, a career in the law has become ever more uncertain. With high competition for university places and training contracts and pupillages on graduation. Aspiring solicitors working in suspended animation as paralegals. Student debts are stratospheric. The economy is uncertain. The chances of partnership are reduced and a close government interest in cutting litigation, legal aid and the court services make for a daunting backdrop’. Wow! I hope that hasn’t put you off your dinner! Anyone else looking at a career move?

The fact is the profession is facing a number of threats. Concerns are regularly expressed over whether there will be a dilution of the solicitor brand or the creation of a two-tier system which will have a detrimental impact on the credibility of the profession from a consumer perspective, particularly if the SQE introduction is not handled with sufficient transparency and clarity. Even more important then is a robust network of people trying to counter these threats, prepare for future challenges and working together to share best practice and to lobby against change where it will clearly damage the profession and our clients. BLS is well placed to provide this network. With around 4000 members, a voice which is listened to in Chancery Lane – individually and as part of the Joint V group (which is made up of the 5 largest, local law societies in the country) as a member of ASWLS linking with our counterparts across the south west region and as part of the wider local, business community through its links with educators (like UWE, BPP, University of Law and Weston College); accountants (like Milsted Langdon and the ICAEW) and through the cross professional networking group. We can make a real difference.

BLS can build on this as we move into 2018 with the benefit of our new offices. This is the first time that BLS has owned their own property in their almost 250 year history and provides us with a fantastic opportunity to grow, expanding our offering and developing new income streams all for the benefit of our members (shameless plug for event space to hire – competitive rates, see website for details!). There are further growth opportunities now that our new website is about to launch with greater scope to include valuable content and to be responsive to the needs of the profession. With your continued support we have a fantastic opportunity to really shape the future of the legal profession.…..and with people like our award nominees, shortlist and winners we surely have the strength and talent locally to achieve this.

Now, as I’ve said, it’s been a busy year. We’ve responded to many key TLS and SRA consultations, we’ve continued to develop our training programme adding our Practice Managers Conference to our already full event schedule (coming soon – again, see website for details! Another shameless plug – how am I doing, Helen? Anyone would think I’m working on commission!). Also, the introduction of our ‘Lunch and Learn’ events aimed primarily at junior lawyers, developing business professionals and supporting the new core competencies framework for ‘CPD’.

We’ve linked with 4 schools in Bristol (Oasis Brightstowe Academy, Henbury School, Bridge Learning Campus and Bedminster Down) supporting them with their own careers events, providing mock interviewing and mini-debates and most recently delivering a mock trial at UWE’s new Business and Law faculty building, (which I highly recommend going to see if you can!).

We’ve embedded our links with Avon and Bristol Law Centre and I’m pleased to report that a representative from ABLC will be joining BLS Council in November to further cement this link at a time when access to justice for all remains top priority.

We’ve engaged with the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Jeffrey Vos when he visited Bristol to appraise us of his plans to further promote Bristol as a legal centre of excellence. We’ve arranged representation when Lord Justice Briggs consulted on the extension of the fixed costs regime. I’ve even had the opportunity to address the profession at the Presidents and Secretaries Conference. We are working hard to promote Bristol’s strengths both in the legal profession and in business more generally. If you think you might want to get involved and be part of BLS do please get in touch – we are always looking for willing victims, sorry, volunteers!

As you have heard, it’s been a positive year for BLS but not in every respect. We’ve survived a flood……..but hopefully tonight there will be no fires (nor, according to the Marriotts’ kitchen any famine!). But with the courts suffering far worse with their flood we are reminded that there are always those who have it harder than us. Which brings me neatly to my charity of the year; I’ve been proud this year to support the Spinal Injuries Association. As some of you will know, my choice of charity is a personal one. In 1985, just 2 weeks after my brother turned 20, (whilst posted in Germany with the army) he dived into a river stream which was only 2ft deep and was paralysed instantly. This was a stream he’d swum in many times but that split-second decision changed his life. This could happen to anyone. An ill-placed rugby tackle, a bike/car accident, a fall, a dive……The SIA were an important part of my brother’s rehabilitation so let me introduce you to Henry Kimbell from SIA to tell you more about the charity’s excellent work.

Thank you, Henry. I know many of the firms here tonight already support what I’m sure you will all agree is an extremely worthy cause. I’d ask you all to support the SIA tonight. To be blunt, let’s face it, most of you are here enjoying a free evening thanks to your firms so please give generously. There’s an added incentive that the person who gives the most in their envelope or via text will be entered into a separate draw to win a tour of the Williams F1 Racing Team’s factory and museum with lunch for 4 and other goodies so please dig deep! Thanks again Henry.

And whilst I’m thanking people………

……..time for my Oscar speech now – cue music! My final words are words of thanks….to my family, especially my husband for enabling me to do this and for supporting me always. To BLS Council and Exec. Thank you for your energy, your time and your guidance and good humour through everything this year.

Special thanks to Helen Read and Clair Ponting for working tirelessly and constantly to promote BLS and the profession here in Bristol and Bath. You are absolute ‘work-horses’ and the key to our development and continued success. Thank you.

To our sponsors and strategic partners (UWE, Milsted Langdon, Wessex Searches, Lloyds bank) and to every sponsor this evening, thank you for your tremendous support.

To Justin and his team on AV and lighting; to our event organiser, Ceri who always makes the evening run smoothly and to all of you for coming!

Thank you and enjoy your evening.

Women in Property Upcoming Events

Please see attached WiP events for the Bristol/ Bath/ Gloucestershire and Wiltshire area in the coming months


If you are currently considering becoming a member of Women in Property, please note that the current fee of £124 for our South West branch will be increasing by £5 to £129 on 1st March.  Membership runs for twelve months from the month of joining.

To apply for membership of the Association you can either download a form from the website at and pay by cheque / electronic bill payment or you can apply online at and pay by debit / credit card. 

In the southwest region, they  have organised over 80 events in the last year ranging from seminars, debates, networking lunches and others besides.  The members and event attendees come from a range of different backgrounds throughout the property and construction industries and people are at various stages in their career which is great for meeting new connections and finding out more about the industry.  Member ticket prices are significantly less than non-members and some events are free for (and sometimes restricted to only) members.

They also offer a mentoring programme to members and you can find out more about this from the website at




BLS Annual Awards Dinner Winners 2017!

Congratulations to all those shortlisted nominees who attended our dinner last night but our most particular congratulations to the winners of the awards!

We hope all our guests had an enjoyable evening and thank you again for all you support of Bristol Law Society.

The winners in each category were:

Law Student of the Year
Brooke Lewis, UWE

Support Team Member of the Year
Jerry Fowler, Civil and Family Justice Centre, Bristol County Court

Junior Lawyer of the Year
Fiona Dabell, Barcan+Kirby

Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year
Beverley Watkins, Watkins Solicitors Incorporating Brain Sinnott & Co

CSR Firm of the Year

Barrister of the Year
Natasha Dzameh, St John’s Chambers

Chambers of the Year
Albion Chambers

Lawyer of the Year
Samantha Castle, Barcan+Kirby

Team of the Year
Litigant in Person (Lip) Service

Law Firm of the Year (under 15 partners)
AMD Solicitors

Law Firm of the Year (over 15 partners)
Veale Wasbrough Vizards

President’s Outstanding Achievement Award
District Judge Julie Exton


Issuing High Court Claims at Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre

High Court Cases issued in Bristol, after 2nd October 2017 and before electronic filing becomes available outside London, should identify the list or court in which the claimant wishes the case to proceed, as above. Users will have to indicate on the claim form or to listing staff the list or sub-list to which their claim should be allocated.

Users must choose one of the following:
(1) Admiralty Court (QBD)
(2) Business List (ChD) (with further choice of Financial Services and Regulatory or Pensions sub-lists available)
(3) Commercial Court (QBD) (with the option to issue in the London Circuit Commercial Court instead in London, or a single option of issuing in the Circuit Commercial Court in other centres)
(4) Competition List (ChD)
(5) Financial List (ChD/QBD)
(6) Insolvency and Companies List (ChD) (with further option of Insolvency or Companies sub-lists)
(7) Intellectual Property List (ChD) (with further choice of Patents Court or IPEC)
(8) Property,Trusts and Probate List (ChD)
(9) Revenue List (ChD)
(10) Technology and Construction Court (QBD)

Bristol CFJC re-opening 14 November

Please see attached letter from the court regarding the re-opening of the court post the flood.  Re-opening of the Bristol CFJC letter October 2017

BLS Annual Awards Dinner 19th October 2017

With only 2 days left before our annual awards dinner, we would like to thank all this year’s sponsors and look forward to seeing all our supporters, guests and members at the dinner on Thursday. Good luck to all those shortlisted! BLS_Awards 2017 Interactive PDF

Connect-Exchange-Build Pro-Bono Event, Bristol 6 November

UWE Distinguished Address Series Autumn Lectures –






We are delighted to be partnering with UWE Distinguished Address Series in 2017/18.

We look forward to seeing you at lectures from some of the most respected figures in British business.

The events are free and open to all but pre-registration for each event is required and will open four weeks prior to each event. Opening dates are listed on the respective web page for each event.

Registration for Tony Hayward, Chairman Glencore is now open with spaces still left for Juliet davenport, CEO Good Energy on 25 October

If you’re a twitter user you can tweet about the event using the #BristolLectures or retweet any of our tweets @UWEEvents.

Previous speakers podcasts can be viewed at

You can find details of all the upcoming lectures and booking information here



Valedictory Speeches for DJ Julie Exton Friday, 13th October

To all court users

His Honour Judge Wildblood QC has requested arrangements to be made for valedictory speeches to be made on behalf of
District Judge Julie Exton who sadly passed away on the 8 October 2017.

This event will take place on Friday 13 October 2017 at 10am.

The venue will be Bristol Crown Court, Small Street, Bristol (court room to be advised).

The speakers will be:-

His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC

Mr Charles Hyde QC replying

Mr Gregory Moss replying

The event will last around 30 minutes

The Law Society SW Monthly Report -October 2017

The Law Society

The Law Society



South West Report Oct 2017