Society's News

Corporate Members 2021

3PB Albion Chambers Ashfords Barcan + Kirby Battens Beale & Co BLM Burges Salmon Clarke Willmott CMS CMNO Cooke Painter Ltd Clyde & Co DAC Beachcroft The Family Law Practice Foot Anstey (including Enable Law) Fussell Wright GL Law Guildhall Chambers Irwin Mitchell Solicitors Lyons Davidson Marc White & Co Meade King Osborne Clarke Paragon Costs Solutions Queen Square Chambers … 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

Please note that the BLS office is shut to members at present as we continue to work from home during the pandemic. We can be contacted on In the meantime, our office is now operating as the Bristol Nightingale Court and accordingly, we are unable to hire out our facilities until further notice. (Oct 2020) Bristol Law Society’s suite … more


Myanmar update post delegation visit in 2019

Bristol Law Society were delighted to welcome a delegation of Myanmar lawyers back in 2019 who were keen to meet local lawyers and hear about the judicial system in our country.


It is with concern that we learn of the difficulties facing the country at present and those who practice law within it including the arrest of U Kway Hoe, one of the lawyers who visited BLS as part of the delegation.  The Law Society International Campaigns team have put together a statement of solidarity and we would echo the content of the Law Society statement and support the work they are undertaking to monitor the situation in Myanmar.


Closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund







The Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) will stop accepting new claims after 30 September 2021.

Currently, SIF provides ongoing cover to firms once their mandatory six-year run-off period has elapsed. The closure means that solicitors may be personally liable for losses from any future claims that are made against firms that have been closed for more than six years.

It’s important that you understand what this means for you in order to protect yourself against potential future claims. This is a short summary – links to full details are available at the end.

What you need to do

You’ll need to start by reflecting on your risk exposure.

The first thing to consider is areas of work. Some work areas are at greater risk of long-tail claims, such as residential conveyancing, wills and trusts, child personal injury, and matrimonial property.

Secondly, you may be affected differently depending on whether a practice at which you were a principal or employee is now closed, and when the closure took place.

Below we have outlined four groups of members which will be affected differently and suggest practical steps you could take.

Group A: Firms that closed on or before 31 August 2000  

These firms are currently covered by SIF. As they closed before the profession moved to purchasing insurance on the open market, arrangements will be made for them to receive ongoing cover after SIF has closed.

Suggested action

If you fall into this group, you may not need to take any action.

Group B: Firms that closed between 1 September 2000 and 30 September 2015 

These firms are in SIF, or will be in SIF, by 30 September 2021. This is the group that we believe faces the greatest difficulties as a consequence of SIF’s closure. For some time now, we have been actively pursuing options for this group and continue to earnestly engage with the insurance industry to find a solution. However, there are currently limited alternatives available.

Suggested action:

  1. If you’re aware of any matter which could give rise to a claim and can identify the former client who was affected, consider contacting that client (or their beneficiaries) and encouraging them to register a claim with SIF prior to 30 September 2021.
  2. Gather and keep whatever relevant paperwork you still have available relating to your practice and indemnity insurance records, including previous applications and claims.
  3. If you had a good claims history and paid your excesses and run-off premium, consider approaching your former broker or underwriter to see if they’re willing to consider providing you with supplementary run-off cover. This would not have to be on the same terms as your original mandatory run-off cover.
  4. If you were part of a traditional partnership, you may want to discuss with your former partners whether and how you would pay for any supplementary cover.

Group C: Firms that have closed since 1 October 2015 

These firms have closed, and they will never benefit from SIF because it will stop accepting new claims before their mandatory six-year run-off period comes to an end. Unless alternative arrangements are made, these firms will be left without protection once their run-off cover expires.

Suggested action

For former principals, we suggest that you take the practical steps outlined in points 2 through 4 above and preserve any records which may be of assistance in dealing with future claims.

Group D: Existing firms 

Unless alternative arrangements are made, existing firms will be left without protection once their run-off cover expires. However, there are still precautionary measures that firms can take to reduce their long-term exposure.

Suggested action

  • Principals of existing sole practices or partnerships should consider incorporating as a limited liability company, as this will reduce personal exposure to claims arising from work carried out subsequent to incorporation. But you should take independent advice on this, as it may have other consequences for your practice.
  • Work to improve risk management systems, and carefully consider whether you should stop taking on any new work in areas with a higher risk of long-tail claims. Retain records of any such work you’ve done previously, or do in the future, in order to defend any claims that may arise subsequently.
  • Principals should also think about their likely need for supplementary run-off cover, and how they’ll pay for it. Consider setting aside funds now or start to implement a plan to help you to pay for your mandatory and supplementary run-off cover in the future.

To find out more about the SIF closure and register for updates

  • Visit for the full details on the closure of SIF, its impact on closed, existing and new firms, and practical steps to take for principals and employees.
  • Sign up or log in to My LS and add the ‘Solicitors Indemnity Fund’ topic. Select ‘Manage topics’ and search for ‘Solicitors Indemnity Fund’.
  • Register interest in receiving further information by calling the Support Centre of the Law Society of England & Wales on 020 7242 1222 and leaving your contact information, or email to be included in future updates.


BLS back apprenticeship campaign

BLS has pledged their support, for Weston College’s latest apprenticeship campaign,
300 in 100, which seeks to create 300 apprenticeship opportunities in just 100 days.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic, youth unemployment has risen by 13%, with a further 785,000 people under 24 on furlough. This campaign is seeking to create brighter futures for young people, businesses, and the wider community, to help us build back better.

Also any employer who decides to hire an apprentice between 1st April 2021 and 30th September 2021, can access government incentives, of up to £4,000.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: We are delighted to welcome Bristol Law Society on board, to support this much needed campaign. The whole business landscape has been flipped upside down over the last 12 months, and this campaign is seeking to help employers’ access new skills, whilst committing to changing someone’s life. One of the most effective ways of bringing a new generation of employees to your company or investing in your current workforce training is through apprenticeships. Our employer network and our learners have benefited hugely from apprenticeships, and we are excited to help even more people improve their lives through this campaign.

You can pledge your support for the campaign, and find out more about apprenticeships, at

#300in100  #CreatingBrighterFutures

Legal Services Board – Launch of Reshaping Legal Services: a sector-wide strategy

Following a year of engagement, consultation and research, the LSB have launched Reshaping legal services: a sector-wide strategy.

The strategy outlines how long-term, sustainable change is needed to reshape legal services so that we can better meet society’s needs. It builds on the State of Legal Services 2020 report, which offers an evidence-based account of the legal services sector over the last ten years and the challenges it continues to face and the three strategic themes for the sector to address to reshape legal services: fairer outcomes, stronger confidence and better services.

Critically, the strategy recognises the importance of collaboration. We invite you to work with us and others across the sector to contribute to meeting the strategy’s aims.

We have also published our 2021-22 business plan and response to the recent consultation. The business plan sets out the our  budget and priorities for the year, and we are looking at which areas will be best supported by collaboration. We are grateful for the offers already received and welcome other expressions of interest.

We are grateful to those who have contributed to this strategy’s development and who recognise the collective work needed to deliver better outcomes for society.  We look forward to working with you.

Kind regards,

 Helen Phillips signature (2)

Dr Helen Phillips


Legal Services Board

LawCare News March 2021

Volunteer for LawCare!
Join our fantastic team of volunteers, we’re currently looking for the following:

  • Helpline Volunteers who can cover weekday shifts (particularly Wednesday morning or Friday afternoon)
  • Peer Supporters who are young and/or newly qualified and have experienced and overcome workplace bullying
  • Peer Supporters who have been through disciplinary proceedings
  • Peer Supporters who work in-house and in the public sector
  • Peer Supporters who are pupil or newly called barristers

We would particularly welcome Peer Supporter applicants from BAME backgrounds as this group is currently underrepresented.

Full training is offered for these roles. To find out more please email
or call 01268 771333. Please note that we require all helpline volunteers and peer supporters to have had experience of working in the legal profession.
LawCare is thrilled to be a charity partner of The Be Kind We Care initiative, launched by the Conveyancing Foundation to promote kindness and wellbeing within the property industry and raise over £30,000 in 2021 in support of charities providing mental health and welfare initiatives.

The Be Kind We Care Resource Hub offers access to a host of useful guides, top tips, podcasts, and webinars.

The Legal Mind podcast
LawCare’s Gemma Matthews talks to Joanna Fleck and Rachel Francis, founders of Claiming Space, about Vicarious Trauma in the legal profession. Listen here or find us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Take part in research
We want to let you know about some interesting research studies happening in the wider legal profession that you might like to get involved with.

The Work in Lockdown study is examining experiences of working from home.

Advancing Wellness in Law: Digital Conversation
Advancing Wellness in Law was created by four legal academics with strong research interests in the areas of wellness, wellbeing, emotions and mental health in legal education and the legal profession. Join them on Tuesday 23rd March 2021 at 9.30 am for a discussion of wellbeing in law schools and law firms.  A chance to share experiences and ideas on what are the key wellbeing issues to focus on, what wellbeing initiatives do and don’t work and how we can develop a more ‘joined-up’ approach across law schools and legal practice. Email for an invitation.

Bristol City Initiatives of interest to the local legal Profession

We were pleased to welcome the Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees speak to many of our local Managing Partners and Senior Leaders this week.

The Mayor thanked the local profession for their contribution to the City and also outlined a number of initiatives that might be of particular interest to the local legal community:

West of England Black Interns Pilot: In recognition of the employment gap that exists for black graduates, and inspired by the #10000BlackInterns initiative, we are launching a new internship programme in the region – the West of England Black Interns pilot.

The scheme will provide a four week paid work experience for black and mixed heritage students at the end of the summer, with Hargreaves Lansdown coordinating the recruitment and placement of interns.

To find out more, you can go to the website or email – please get in touch with expressions of interest, including how many interns you’d like to take, as soon as possible.

Bristol WORKS – information on how to sign up to offer experiences of work is available at Bristol WORKS and the team can be contacted directly at

Domestic Abuse legal support – if firms are in a position to help improve access to representation and advice for people affected my domestic violence, please do contact us and we can put them in contact with Next Link Housing who are leading this work – The report of the Mayoral Commission on Domestic Abuse is available to read here, and as part of this work we are asking employers to engage with Hestia’s Everyone’s Business Campaign. Hestia have been commissioned by the government specifically to advise employers on domestic abuse within the workforce.

No Recourse to Public Funds – A ‘One City’ working group is being established on legal support for vulnerable migrants, particularly those that have been accommodated on an emergency basis during the COVID pandemic. For more information, please contact

Bristol One City- March Newsletter

March 2021 Newsletter – Bristol One City

Includes City Office updated One City Plan and Annual Report 2020

New report reveals significant LegalTech cluster in Bristol & Bath

A new report from Whitecap Consulting, conducted with support from key regional stakeholders, has found impressive levels of LegalTech activity, capability and employment across legal service providers, tech firms and LegalTech businesses in the Bristol & Bath region.


The report identifies a significant level of LegalTech activity across an established legal sector, including more than 750 tech and innovation roles. In addition, there is a growing cluster of over 30 LegalTechs, tech companies working in the legal sector, and LegalTech arms operating within the region’s law firms. The new report is the latest evidence to support the region’s core strength in emerging areas of technology, coming less than two weeks after it was named in the Kalifa Review as one of the top 10 FinTech clusters in the UK.

The research has been conducted in partnership with West of England Combined Authority, Invest Bristol+Bath, Bristol Law Society, Bristol+Bath LegalTech, with support from sponsors including Amdaris, Burges Salmon, DAC Beachcroft, Datasharp Integrated Communications, Foot Anstey, PracticeEvolve, University of Law, and VWV. Nearly 50 stakeholders were interviewed as part of the research process, which was supported by an online survey and a number of events.

The key findings of the report include:

  • High levels of LegalTech activity and service innovation across law firms of all sizes reflect the region’s underlying strengths in technology and law – including the presence of 17 Top 200 law firm head office functions.
  • Bristol and Bath has built an extensive LegalTech talent pool, with more than 750 legal technology and innovation roles identified by our research.
  • There is a growing cluster of over 30 LegalTechs, tech companies working in the legal sector and LegalTech arms within the region’s law firms. The number of LegalTech businesses is significant in size compared to other regional locations – as is the case in FinTech.
  • The region’s LegalTech sector could create powerful differentiation on a national and international level if embryonic collaboration in the legal sector was fully joined up with and modelled on the tech sector’s well-established regional collaborative ecosystem.
  • A strong sense of societal purpose is evident within the legal sector in the region and this should drive a future strand of LegalTech development.

The report makes recommendations against each key finding, and advocates supporting the future development of the ecosystem via actions including: improving visibility and accessibility to law firms for LegalTechs and tech firms; more communication and collaboration; building cross-sector links (eg with FinTech) within and outside the region; raising awareness of the roles available in LegalTech to help attract talent to the sector; and building on the region’s strong sense of societal purpose.

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, said:

“The analysis that underpins this report has focused on the intersection of two of the most successful sectors in the regional economy, so it is no surprise that 93% of people surveyed believed LegalTech to be a growth opportunity for Bristol & Bath.  The region is widely acknowledged to ‘punch above its weight’ in both sectors, a view that the findings of this research endorse.”

Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society & Partner, VWV, said:

“LegalTech is a central plank for the legal future and this report is a keystone for taking us to the next step. We now need to move to that next phase and to make innovation and legal tech a long-term success story for the region. This report was commissioned to assist in giving the Bristol & Bath city region LegalTech sector a platform to demonstrate an enviable position as a world class innovation hub. I very much look forward to seeing the next stage of that evolution.”

Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said:

“This report shows that the West of England is the place for LegalTech in the UK. It’s easy to see why, with our globally recognised tech and creative sectors fusing with legal and professional services to revolutionise how clients are advised and firms operate to create the jobs of the future. The data and insights in this report are not only valuable for our region but for the entire country, being the first comprehensive survey of LegalTech in the post-Covid world. With such a strong cluster in Bristol and Bath, I look forward to us welcoming more talent and new businesses to the region soon.”

Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“This report recognises the unique opportunity for LegalTech businesses based in our region. Combined with the existing strength of our tech and professional service sectors and our long history of innovation, this report demonstrates that we are well positioned to lead digital transformation and create the future of LegalTech.”

Chris Bull, Co-Chair of Bristol+BathLegalTech, who co-authored the report with Whitecap, said:

“The report shines a much-needed light on the growth of a nationally and internationally significant LegalTech cluster in the West of England and it was great to see the role of our collaborative LegalTech community network, Bristol+BathLegalTech (BBLT), cited by many contributors to this report as one of the region’s great strengths. Recommendations in the report reflect a collective desire to take these excellent foundations to the next level and for 2021 to be a major step-change in BBLT’s activity, helping the sector power back up post-pandemic”.

The new Bristol & Bath LegalTech 2021 report can be downloaded here.

You can watch the live launch event recording here

Boost for small businesses as free and independent service for unresolved bank complaints goes live

Business banks sign up to innovative scheme with a focus on historical cases alongside contemporary complaints.
Small businesses will, from today, be able to use a new, free and independent service to
help them resolve disputes with their banks, in a boost for SMEs struggling in the current crisis.

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) will use alternative dispute resolution
techniques to settle unresolved complaints from larger SMEs with seven participating
banks, who make up the majority of the business banking market.

It is hoped that the BBRS will give SMEs added confidence to take out loans and other
business banking products and services knowing that, if something goes wrong, they
have a route to independent resolution. An improved climate for investment will be
much-needed as the economy seeks to recover.

The service has been two years in the making and has been set up on a voluntary basis
with small business groups and banks working together. The setting up of the BBRS
comes after a sustained campaign by SMEs, who have argued for a wider means of
resolving disputes.

The BBRS will work to settle unresolved complaints from customers of the financial
institutions who have signed up. The banks are: Barclays Bank plc and Barclays Bank UK plc; Danske Bank; HSBC UK Bank plc; Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc); NatWest Group (including The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, National Westminster Bank plc, Coutts & Company and Ulster Bank Limited (Northern Ireland)); Santander UK plc; and Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank plc and Yorkshire Bank).

It is hoped that more banks will join in future.

Read more about the service Business Banking Resolution Service goes live – 15.2.21

Financial Remedy Court Update – HHJ Cope

Her Honour Judge Stephanie Cope
Lead Judge for Financial Remedy Work for Bristol
Financial Remedy Court

Some four months have passed since the launch of the FR pilot. Contested applications will shortly move to an online procedure and I will write to you about this in due course.
You will all be familiar with the allocation process. However, only a few court users are taking the opportunity to provide additional information to the court to assist the allocation judge. The purpose of this note is to encourage you to provide that additional information when you return the allocation questionnaire. This will assist the FR court in working efficiently and effectively for you and your clients.

A judge when allocating a case will consider:
– the level of judge required for the case;
– whether it can be listed before any FR judge;
– if the case should be reserved to a judge from the outset;
– the time estimate for the first directions appointment.

The system that has been put in place enables court users to ensure they have the right level of judge and continuity where required. The additional information is there to assist you and your client and you are encouraged to use it. Lay clients may well find involvement in court proceedings stressful and the more we can do to improve their experience should assist. In the absence of such information cases are likely to be allocated to any FR judge. The FR pilot enables all accredited judges to do this work. Some are more experienced than others but all accredited judges have been appropriately trained. I am keen to develop an FR court where both
professional and lay users can have the best possible experience throughout the life of the case.

As before, please ensure any additional information you provide is limited to no more than one side of A4.

Please also remember the Bristol Financial Remedy Hub has a dedicated email address
monitored by staff trained in financial remedy work – allowing court users to communicate directly with the court (

In respect of consent orders, please can I remind you to provide the necessary information in the statement of information form setting out the reasons for the proposed order.

Finally, please share this letter with as many of your colleagues as possible. Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and if you have any suggestions in respect of improving the FR court please do contact me direct.

Kind regards

Her Honour Judge Stephanie Cope
Lead Judge for Financial Remedy Work for Bristol

FEB 2021

Fighting for fairness for Junior Lawyers

Junior lawyers (including experienced non-partners/compliance officers) are not generally covered by the sort of insurance that would help them if they needed expert help defending themselves against SRA investigation. That very often leaves them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to explaining themselves to a much better resourced SRA. With support from The Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division, Leigh Day Regulatory team is conducting a survey about the potential uptake of regulatory defence cover, if it were available, to try to persuade insurers to provide a solution.

The survey was recently covered in a feature in the Law Society Gazette, is completely anonymous and should only take a few minutes to complete. Please share the survey with any junior lawyers you know to help inform the research.

Take the survey

What is ESG and what does it mean for law firms?

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate
Argyll Environmental staff portraits – Simon Boyle





ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and is a set of factors that assess how an organisation impacts on the environment and society.  These three criteria are considered key factors for assessing the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment, as reported by both McKinsey and Deloitte.

  • “83 percent of C-suite leaders and investment professionals say they expect that ESG programs will contribute more shareholder value in five years than today.” – McKinsey’s Global Survey
  • “89 percent of investment managers…indicate their firms will devote more resources to this area in the next two years.” Deloitte

It’s no surprise many mutual funds, brokerage firms and other financial service advisors are now looking for products that inform investments through ESG criteria.

But what does each area of ESG encompass? It’s a complex subject, so this article just covers the main areas and looks at some ways you can address them within your firm.



As you would imagine, this first pillar of ESG focusses on the effects on the physical, natural environment. Across the globe, how we produce, consume and discard has a significant adverse impact on the natural world.

Considerations include:

  • Potential climate risk
  • The extraction and use of raw materials
  • The effects of human activity on biodiversity



It’s not only nature we need to consider. How employees and local communities are affected also must be taken into account.

Considerations include:

  • Are human rights respected?
  • Is the end consumer protected from unsafe products or practices?
  • How is the personal data of individuals protected?



Governance is to do with making sure there are systems in place to ensure accountability within a corporation.

Considerations include:

  • Transparency of processes and procedures
  • Clear anti-bribery and corruption policies
  • Ensuring boards are composed of independent members


How to simplify and structure your ESG process 

Given the wide spectrum of areas that fall under ESG, putting a process into action can seem daunting. However, because Landmark recognise the importance that ESG reporting will have in the future, we are offering a platform and reports that allows anyone – regardless of ESG knowledge, experience or qualifications – to kick off their ESG due diligence.

The RiskHorizon ESG Screen report has been designed to simplify ESG risk management for law firms. By providing a framework for ESG due diligence it allows you to quickly focus on main ESG risks of a particular sector.

Simply answer a number of questions, which become more specific as you drill down into the sector or location of the target firm, and get instant access to a clear, concise overview of ESG risk and recommended next steps for that company.


This report uses data from:

  • 90 industries
  • Over 45 global risks, with coverage for 175 countries
  • Up to 30 data sources including The World Bank, Unicef and the Global Child Forum, Freedom House, and United Nations Development Programme
  • All of these are benchmarked against the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)


You will be provided with a list of due diligence questions which frame the whole ESG due diligence process and can inform any further legal advice including next steps around the potential investment.

  • Pre-screen target companies for risk
  • Easy question-and-answer format focuses due diligence from the outset
  • Conduct deeper investigations by a sector/geography specific list of questions
  • A clear, numerical ESG score is easy to digest and explain
  • Internal benchmarking means you can not only review potential investments, but improve existing ones


In addition, you will have access to an experienced consultant for to answer any questions on the report results.

You can find out more about RiskHorizon here.


Simon Boyle

Landmark Information


LawCare Impact Report 2020

LawCare 2020 impact report is now available to view at

The number of legal professionals contacting us rose by 9% last year and people seeking help for anxiety has seen a sharp increase – from 45 people in 2019 to 111 last year.












The Legal Mind podcast
In the latest episode of The Legal Mind podcast LawCare’s Gemma Matthews talks to counsellor, LawCare volunteer, author and non-practising solicitor Angus Lyon about how talking helps, lawyer mindset, starting a conversation about mental health and how to keep positive and resilient over the next few months. Listen here or find us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

LawCare’s free, independent and confidential helpline, email and webchat support service provides a space for you to talk about anything that may be worrying you
Call us on 0800 279 6888 or visit our website

Could you or someone you know be a Family Court Magistrate?

Click to enlarge

Yeovil Law Courts – COVID update 26th Jan 2021

Obituary – Matt Ashley, Osborne Clarke

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of  Matt Ashley of Osborne Clarke over the Christmas period, shortly after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.












Matt was a hugely valued member of the residential development team at Osborne Clarke and at Clarke Willmott before that. He was well-known and well-liked throughout the Bristol legal community, where he had many friends amongst his current and former colleagues.

Matt generously shared his time and expertise with a range of industry and charitable organisations. He held leadership positions with The Institute of Residential Property Management and used his property management expertise to help develop community-led housing in Bristol as well as helping The Scouts manage their property portfolio.

Our thoughts are very much with Matt’s wife, children and wider family at this sad time.

Osborne Clarke have set up a book of remembrance for Matt and BLS members who knew Matt are welcome to contribute to it.

There is also a remembrance fundraising page in aid of Bowel Cancer UK


WECA Recovery Taskforce Update

Outputs from the WECA taskforce meeting pre-Christmas which puts a bit more flesh on some of the key focus areas and the progress being made.

Taskforce presentation – 15.12.20

Taskforce – additional slides – 15.12.20

WECA support for business and residents



WECA Recovery Taskforce

Please see attached outputs from the WECA Recovery Taskforce which members may find useful:

WECA support for business and residents

Taskforce presentation – 15.12.20

Taskforce – additional slides – 15.12.20

The Legacy of Coal Mining






With less reliance on fossil fuels and a drive towards more sustainable energy, it seems the life span for coal as an energy source is diminishing around the world. In fact, an article*1 in the Observer newspaper questioned whether we are facing the imminent end of Coal as an energy source in Britain.

Looking back through history, UK coal production was around 70 million tonnes a year in the mid-18th century and grew to a peak of just under 300 million tonnes by 1913 according to the UK Government figures.  Residential use of the fossil fuel has however largely ended and just eight million tonnes was reportedly used by UK industry in 2019, with only two million supplied from UK sources.

Today, UK mining has virtually stopped, having fallen from 3,000 mines at the peak to just 13 now, with coal representing approximately five per cent of overall annual energy usage.

From the heights of the industrial era, coal production instead leaves behind a significant and long-lasting legacy.  Ground stability poses a real hazard for properties located over or even near mine workings for decades to come and is important to consider when transacting properties.

In 2019*2, almost a quarter of all residential property transactions were located in coal affected areas. On top of this, over 10 million properties across GB are said to be located in a coalfield area, meaning lawyers have a duty of care for clients – and the lender if a mortgage is involved – to ensure related risks are investigated, to limit future claims against professional indemnity.

I spoke to Phil Huddleston MRICS, a Director of PinPoint Coal Ltd and former Head of Mining Information at the Coal Authority to discuss what lawyers need to consider when undertaking ground stability due diligence on property transactions:

“Mining coal below the ground can cause subsidence. With deep mining this lowering of the surface takes place over a relatively short period of time. This can manifest itself as tension or compression strains resulting in damage to buildings or quite simply a lowering of the surface and no damage at all. Shallower workings do not consolidate in the same way and the impact of these can continue for much longer, representing a continued present-day risk.

“Looking specifically at Bristol and Somerset coalfield, what we have here is a very old and long serving coalfield. Here, we have examples of mining dating right back to Roman times and with production finally winding up by the early 1960’s.

“Although the mining has stopped, it has left behind lots of potential problems that home owners and developers need to be aware of.

“For example, old mine shafts have the potential to collapse causing sudden and severe damage, or old shallow workings can collapse causing crown holes at the surface and resultant subsidence damage.    With the extent of mining in Bristol, the area is not immune to these risks and so makes coal mining relevant today.

“What is important to note that the area affected at the surface by mining activities is much greater than the area of coal itself, which people are often unaware of.  We call this the ‘Zone of Influence’ (ZOI) and determining the ZOI is a complex three-dimensional calculation based upon the depth and slope of the workings, together with the surface terrain.

“Due to the multiple angles, directions and depths often involved, it is not sufficient to simply create a ‘buffer’ around a mine. These complex calculations are important and take into account a huge amount of data, which enables us to assess related ground stability risks with a very high degree of accuracy.”

Obtaining a Coal Mining Report enables prospective purchasers to be made aware of the risks and in this particular case to see whether there is any history of damage – including where a claim has been made, or even been rejected.

The new Landmark Coal Mining Report – powered by PinPoint – provides all the standard answers required by the Law Society together with (as appendices) additional information about mine entries and claims when they are reported. The reports are supported by professional opinion from Chartered Minerals Surveyors.

While coal mining may be largely condemned to the history books, its after-effects leave behind a lasting legacy that certainly means it shall not be forgotten, and cannot be ignored.

Allie Parsons, Customer Success Consultant, Landmark Information (Legal)


  1. Landmark Information Group data: Over 10 million properties across GB are situated in a coalfield area – this equates to 27.4% of all properties in Great Britain. In 2019, 23% of property transactions took place in a coal affected area according to transaction data analysed by Landmark Information Group.


Has your software supplier been taken over? Should you stay or should you go?


Has your software supplier been taken over? Should you stay or should you go?

Software supplier takeovers are nothing new. In the legal sector, they have been happening for years and although they levelled off for a period, they have ramped up in volume recently, as documented in legal news headlines. Because of this, there are fewer independent software suppliers in the marketplace now than ever. But what exactly is the implication for you, as an end software user, if your supplier is not independent and has been subject to acquisition or consolidation?

Having repeatedly witnessed and lived through what happens in these situations both behind the scenes and on the front line, Deborah Witkiss at Insight Legal strongly advises against apathy, invites you to benefit from her extensive experience and explains in layman’s terms the recurring pattern of M&A activity so that, if it happens, you can enter the fray with your eyes wide open, know how it will affect you, understand your options and make the right decisions for your business.

There are five trends of the takeover process, these being:

  1. False ‘no change’ promises

It is in your supplier’s interests to pacify you in the early stages. They will make convincing pledges that nothing will change, it is business as usual, and the best and safest thing you can do is remain just where you are. It is even possible you may be told that this is the only option available to you.

None of this is true. Changes are inevitable. Going forwards, there will be stark contrasts from the past. What you know in the present is not what you know in the future. The choicest course of action could be to bid farewell to your supplier and extend a hearty welcome to someone new.

  1. Relationships will dwindle

Amongst the aforementioned promises are continuation of backup service delivery. While you will still receive account management and technical support, the people delivering these services to you are unlikely to be the individuals you have forged professional relationships with. Ultimately, it is the people you buy into when first making your software purchase. No longer having access to these self-same people places a big question mark over the software itself.

The reason for these personnel changes being when two (or any number of) companies amalgamate, streamlining exercises will be carried out. Rather than maintaining multiple teams performing the same roles for different systems, there will be a string of redundancies resulting in fewer staff and unfamiliar faces.

The impact is the necessity to foster new relationships and deterioration of quality of support provision overall. You could be moved onto call centre-type support. Worryingly, it might be that you know more about your software than the employees managing your account and assisting with your technical queries.

  1. Software will become stagnant or given end-of-life notice

Picking up on the point made in #2, will the original software development team be preserved or will they become victims of internal reorganisation too? Losing these key staff means that individuals who are simply not conversant in your software will be responsible for its development instead or, worse still, development could be reduced or even halted completely, with your product ‘sunsetted’ or switched to ‘sustained engineering’.

This is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Your software will either (1) become stagnant because development priorities are focused elsewhere or (2) made end-of-life in order to migrate users to the acquiring supplier’s application. This disintegration of ongoing development efforts happens surprisingly quickly.

Stagnation is a major worry as constant regulatory and legal reforms will not be catered for with functionality enhancements or additions. When you consider some of the reforms introduced over the last few years alone – such as Making Tax Digital requirements for VAT, revised SRA Accounts Rules, anti-money laundering and data protection legislation – you can begin to appreciate the gravitas of slowed-down or halted development. There are also security threats posed by under-developed software because no bug fixes means that cybersecurity is weakened. As such, your exposure to risk of compliance breaches and cyberattacks is dramatically heightened. You’re stuck with a product that is going nowhere fast.

Expiration is equally troubling as these arrangements are enforced without consultation and reasonable timescale. By applying urgency, your supplier is ensuring you do not have sufficient leniency to go to market, undertake research on other potential suppliers and their software offerings, and allow for implementation before your contract comes to an abrupt end. Suddenly, migration seems the only way forward with all of its consequent escalating fees.

  1. Making money is the topmost motive

Let’s be crude here. Acquisitive suppliers are ambitious for growth. Their concentration is fixated entirely on turnover figures. They have investors or equity backers to satisfy and acquisition costs to recoup. Business strategy is driven wholly by finances. Numbers are the sole objective. There is a distinct lack of customer-centric values. As the end user of this type of finance-obsessed supplier, you are as far removed from strategic undertakings as it is possible to be.

Egotistical businesses do not care about what is fitting for you. Increasing prices, reducing costs, pushing you towards a software upgrade you have not asked for, doing everything in their power to make more money and supporting you in a lacklustre way are the unavoidable consequences of this narcissistic quest for revenue.

Conversely to these negative trends, we conclude on a positive note:

  1. You DO have options

Do not let any supplier block your ability to make well-thought-out judgements about your next steps in the business world. Reputable suppliers will never try to push you into hurried agreements which you will later come to regret.

Staying with your supplier is not the only option so do not assume this to be the case. Neither is it necessarily the best option, for all of the reasons outlined above, despite what your persuasive supplier will try to seduce you into believing.

Investigate fully on your own terms and in your own time. Only then can you make an informed choice about whether to sit tight or leave of your own free will. Independently owned suppliers will pride themselves on being your trusted advisers. Seek suppliers who are genuinely concerned about you and place the greatest importance on customer care. By doing so, you and your business are in good hands.

Deborah Edwards, COO, Insight Legal

Feeding Bristol – President’s Charity of the Year – Webinar

Ben Holt AGM Round-up Video



WECA support for business and residents

WECA support for business and residents

Law Firms Must Adapt and Respond to Pandemic Led Industry Change

Research conducted by leading consultancy Nine Feet Tall, suggests top law firms should recognise the need for increased autonomy, whilst continuing to drive technological change in order to succeed in the future. The dramatic shake up caused by the coronavirus pandemic means their futures will now be determined both by the adoption of remote working and new technology, but also by the ability to continuously adapt and respond to change.

Nine Feet Tall interviewed representatives from firms including DAC Beachcroft, Ashurst  and Osborne Clarke to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the legal sector in a turbulent year.

Following the closure of offices during lockdown, a survey from British Council for Offices[1] suggests 46% of office workers want to blend remote and office working in the future. Nine Feet Tall’s Legal Expert Tiggy Robinson said “firms need to accept this new flexible approach to how and where work is conducted. There is an opportunity to reimagine company culture, which will help with attracting and retaining talent.” 

How firms conduct business with clients has now become virtual rather than physical and this opens up opportunities for creative new online solutions. The legal sector should move from a passive to an active approach to designing a leading virtual client experience and applying Design Thinking principles can help.

The path to technological change for law firms doesn’t just mean introducing the latest software. Firms should also be considering if existing technology has been fully adopted. Tiggy explains: “In June, the use of Microsoft Teams grew by 894%[2] compared with its base usage in February 2020. This illustrates the importance of remote collaboration across firms, however are the full benefits of these technologies being realised or are teams using a small proportion of the functionality available from collaboration tools like this?”

Nathan Hayes, IT Director at international legal practice Osborne Clarke said:

“The pandemic has clearly disrupted our working practices making our people significantly more receptive to change. We have a once in a generation opportunity to take advantage of that to accelerate improvements to the way in which we work and lock in the associated benefits before the window of opportunity closes.”

The research conducted explores the different areas the legal sector is addressing, to prepare for the future of work: People, culture, clients, technology, working environments and processes. In each area the common theme centres around adaptability and moving towards a new era. An industry rich in tradition, history and legacy… law now needs to overcome any resistance to innovating and try a new approach fit for a world where change is the only constant.

Nine Feet Tall’s full research can be downloaded here.

Notes to Editor:

At Nine Feet Tall, we support our clients to design and deliver complex change. We have years of experience in providing innovative consultancy to law firms. Our team is experienced at bringing rigour, pace and quality to the change programmes of many of the UK’s top 100 law firms. We accelerate project delivery, enabling leaders to realise business benefits faster and boost firm-wide confidence. With a track-record of successful delivery of more than 200 change programmes over the past 16 years, our team lives and breathes complex project and programme delivery. We work as a partner to clients’ teams and engage their business users to embed lasting change.

Contact – Tiggy Robinson, Partner. 07826 850191

[1] [1]



The Law Society: Law under lockdown: the impact of COVID-19 measures on access to justice and vulnerable people

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique and unprecedented challenge for preserving people’s rights, and ultimately the rule of law. Policy decisions have needed to be made quickly to respond to a rapidly changing emergency situation and to protect public health and lives.

While quick decision making has been necessary, it means that the measures implemented have not been scrutinised as much as they usually would. Disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups have emerged and solicitors have played an important role in supporting people facing difficult circumstances.

However, the measures used to tackle the pandemic have also changed how people access courts and lawyers. It has become more difficult to get legal advice and the protection of the court at the same time that rights have been reduced under emergency powers.

The Law Society view
When exceptional emergency measures affecting fundamental rights and the most intimate areas of people’s lives are introduced, it’s essential to maintain access to justice to ensure those most at risk are protected.

Lessons must be learned from this period and put into practice as we continue to tackle COVID-19 and when shaping responses to future emergencies.

The government’s six-month review of the Coronavirus Act 2020 is a vital opportunity to ensure the measures in place reflect the current situation, address adverse impacts and protect access to justice.

Some important areas we identify for the review to consider are:

  • adapting or removing measures to reflect the current situation
  • protecting access to justice and legal advice for those most at risk
  • improving information, data collection and evaluation

Our analysis has been informed by:

  • desk research parliamentary questions
  • Freedom of Information requests
  • correspondence and discussions with government and civil service officials
    input from our expert committees
  • a focused survey of solicitors

Download the report here

Research project on the Language of DIY Justice, focusing on communication challenges experienced by LIPS in civil proceedings

Birmingham Law School and BCU School of English are conducting a research project on Language of DIY Justice, focusing on communication challenges experienced by Litigants in Person in civil proceedings.

The project investigates the following aspects: language used to construct perceptions around DIY Justice; legal-lay communication; and communication and elicitation processes embedded in court administration and procedures (e.g. how information and evidence is elicited through administrative steps and procedural rules).

The focus on language and communication allows the project to explore key players and factors that shape DIY Justice:

  • LIPs and their perceptions of their experiences and roles within legal proceedings;
  • judges and lawyers and their perceptions of LIPs’ capabilities and roles within legal proceedings;
  • communication challenges that arise during legal-lay interactions;
  •  communication and elicitation processes inherent in court administrative procedures;
  • communication and elicitation processes embedded in civil procedure rules.

We would also be interested in your reflections on recent remote hearings if you have any experience with LIPs in these settings.

As part of the project, the Principal Investigator Dr Tatiana Tkacukova is interested in conducting interviews with solicitors and barristers who have experience dealing with LIPs. If you would like to share your experience and views, please get in touch with Tatiana at The interview will last for app. 15 mins and can be done over the phone or via Zoom/MS Teams/Skype or another online platform.

Thank you very much for considering your involvement.




Covid 19 Business Interruption Insurance Claims: Business and Property Courts in Bristol 


The judgment of the Supreme Court in the appeal from the decision of the Divisional Court in FCA v Arch Insurance and ors [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm) is now expected either just before Christmas or early in the New Year.

Arch is a test case brought by the FCA designed to determine the construction of certain provisions in insurance policies written by the Appellant Insurers, and obtained by a range of businesses and others which purport to provide coverage in the event of business interruption.

The Financial List Judges (in effect a Divisional Court) dealt with a substantial number of issues, not all of which are appealed by the insurers. The Supreme Court is being asked to determine matters of construction relating to:

(i)        “Disease Clauses”; i.e. those which can be triggered by the occurrence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (“COVID-19”), typically within a specified distance of the insured’s premises;

(ii)       “Prevention of Access Clauses”; i.e. those triggered by public authority intervention preventing access to, or use of, premises as a result of COVID-19; and

(iii)      “Hybrid Clauses”; i.e. those clauses which contain wording from both Disease and Prevention of Access Clauses.

In addition, the appeal raises questions as to whether the Divisional Court was correct:

(iv)      to apply certain counterfactual scenarios in relation to the operation of the clauses in relevant policies which provided for loss adjustments (the “Trends Clauses”); and

(v)       in its analysis of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd v Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.

It is anticipated that there will be a substantial number of insurance claims of this sort arising from the pandemic. The courts are concerned to ensure that they are efficiently managed and heard. To that end Mr Justice Butcher has been nominated as the Judge of the Commercial Court who will oversee this litigation.

Claims should be issued in the relevant local Business and Property Courts in accordance with established practice. The nature of many of the claims will make them suitable for the Circuit Commercial Court. Subject to the need for transfer, they will be managed locally. There will be regular consultation between the local Circuit Commercial Court judges and Mr Justice Butcher, with a view to promoting consistency, and to identify further issues which may be suitable for early definitive determination.

If the case is one which justifies a trial by a Judge of the Commercial Court, the necessary arrangements will be made. It is intended that any such trials by Commercial Court judges will be heard locally.

When issuing such a claim in Bristol on CE File, Claimants should send the Court a covering letter headed “Covid 19 Business Interruption Insurance claim” and should identify any issue of law or construction which in their view may be suitable for early determination.

Mr Justice Butcher has also requested that when a claim is issued in a regional B&PC, the Claimant’s solicitor should inform the Commercial Court by emailing their senior listing team with details of the case title, court reference and the location of the local court where the claim has been issued.

Hull, Daniel <>;

Tame, Michael <>

A copy of the covering letter sent to the issuing Court with a note of the claim number assigned to the case will suffice for this purpose.


HHJ Russen QC




Trustees wanted at the Solicitors Benevolent Association

Please click the link below for full details of the positions and how to apply:

HM Courts and Tribunals Service – COVID operating hours

HMCTS  have extended the deadline for responding to their COVID operating hours consultation. Responses can now be submitted until 11.45pm on Monday 14 December 2020.

South West Skills Survey – Weston College and Business Leader magazine

As we all know, 2020 has been a challenging year for companies in all sectors, and as a result, the future of the workplace has been a continual debate amongst entrepreneurs, CEOs and business leaders.

To help understand potential solutions and future skills needs, Weston College has teamed up with Business Leader Magazine to give employers an opportunity to have their say with a South West Skills Survey (South West Skills Survey press release). The aim of the survey is to find out what the skills requirements are for companies in the months and years ahead, as we look to move past the COVID-19 pandemic. The results will be turned into a feature included in a future edition of Business Leader Magazine.

You will see us sharing the survey on social media and please do share it with your clients/contacts as we aim to capture the voice of businesses in the region. Employers can complete the short survey – click here – which closes on Friday 6th November.

The Law Society: Law under lockdown: the impact of COVID-19 measures on access to justice and vulnerable people

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique and unprecedented challenge for preserving people’s rights, and ultimately the rule of law. Policy decisions have needed to be made quickly to respond to a rapidly changing emergency situation and to protect public health and lives.

While quick decision making has been necessary, it means that the measures implemented have not been scrutinised as much as they usually would. Disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups have emerged and solicitors have played an important role in supporting people facing difficult circumstances.

However, the measures used to tackle the pandemic have also changed how people access courts and lawyers. It has become more difficult to get legal advice and the protection of the court at the same time that rights have been reduced under emergency powers.

The Law Society view

When exceptional emergency measures affecting fundamental rights and the most intimate areas of people’s lives are introduced, it’s essential to maintain access to justice to ensure those most at risk are protected.

Lessons must be learned from this period and put into practice as we continue to tackle COVID-19 and when shaping responses to future emergencies.

The government’s six-month review of the Coronavirus Act 2020 is a vital opportunity to ensure the measures in place reflect the current situation, address adverse impacts and protect access to justice.

Some important areas we identify for the review to consider are:

  • adapting or removing measures to reflect the current situation
  • protecting access to justice and legal advice for those most at risk
  • improving information, data collection and evaluation

Our analysis has been informed by:

  • desk research parliamentary questions
  • Freedom of Information requests
  • correspondence and discussions with government and civil service officials
  • input from our expert committees
  • a focused survey of solicitors

Download the report here


BLS to host Nightingale Court – round-up of press coverage

We are delighted to announce that our premises at 12 Colston Avenue are to become a Nightingale Court. BLS celebrate their 250th Anniversary today and will of course continue to provide all the usual services via its operational team who have been working remotely since March 2020.

Please see the MOJ press release below.

Bristol Law Society becomes a ‘Nightingale Court’

  • Nightingale Court set up to ease pressure on Bristol Crown Court
  • One of two new Nightingale Courts opening this week
  • Part of plans to ensure the courts system recovers from the pandemic as quickly as possible

A ‘Nightingale Court’ in Bristol will hear its first cases this week, as part of the Government’s plan to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.

The new site located at Bristol Law Society will carry out employment tribunals as well as non-custodial criminal cases, such as community service orders.

Temporary courts, known as ‘Nightingale Courts’, have been rapidly set up across the country to alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals resulting from the pandemic – ensuring that justice continues to be served for victims as quickly as possible.

Courts Minister, Chris Philp MP, said:

“I am grateful to Bristol Law Society for joining the national effort to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims.

“This is part of our plan to unlock vital capacity in the face of this unprecedented pandemic and ensure our courts recover as quickly as possible.”

Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society, said:

“This is I believe a great example of the benefits that can be achieved by close co-operation between The Society, the profession, the Judiciary and The Ministry of Justice.

“It will enable and ensure greater access to the justice system to members of the public and court users at a time when it is under extreme pressure.”

It brings the number of Nightingale Courts open nationwide to 14, including one in Chester which also began hearing cases this week. A further two are due to open later this month, in total providing 22 extra courtrooms.

The move follows a recent £80m investment in the courts system to meet the unprecedented challenge presented by the pandemic. This will fund the employment of 1,600 new staff to support the recovery, with more temporary Nightingale Courts and technology to boost capacity. These measures are beginning to show positive results:

  • Magistrate courts are seeing the number of outstanding cases drop – dealing with over 21,000 cases a week
  • Crown courts are currently holding over 100 jury trials, and clear over 1,700 cases a week
  • 250 Crown Court rooms will be available for jury trials by the end of October following the roll out of Plexiglass screens to more than 200 court rooms and 100 jury deliberation rooms

Meanwhile, a major £153 million investment across the courts system announced in July will speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms.

Notes to Editors

  1. In August, the locations of an initial set of Nightingale Courts were unveiledA further eight were revealed last month
  2. Plexiglass screens have been rolled out to more than 200 courtrooms and over 100 jury deliberation rooms helping to enable 250 Crown Court rooms for jury trials by the end of October.
  3. New video technology is additionally being rolled, out having been used in up to 90% of hearings since the outbreak began.
  4. See the Lord Chancellor’s statement on court recovery

The Law Society Gazette article can be read here



Obituary of Mark Chawner

Mark Chawner, Associate Solicitor with DAS Law sadly passed away on 21st September 2020.  He had advanced oesophageal cancer which was diagnosed days before he passed. Mark was a fixture in the Bristol litigation world for over 20 years, mainly with Lyons Davidson and DAS Law. He was an excellent lawyer, and left his mark with cases such as Lester v Woodgate.  

Those who know him would describe him as a supportive leader and mentor who always made his juniors feel valued. But he never took himself too seriously and will be sadly missed by all his colleagues and associates.

A private celebration of his life is on 12th October, and donations are welcome to his chosen charity, the Oesophageal Patients Association at . If anyone wishes to contact the family to express their condolences then please contact Sarah Hayes on

Crime – new payment fee to cover work completed for sending hearings comes into effect on 19 October 2020.

The LAA has today published operational guidance on the new Sending Hearing Fixed Fee in advance of their implementation on Monday.

Further details on the fee, with links to the relevant guidance, can be found below:


Legal mental health charity LawCare has announced a new ground-breaking research study ‘Life in the Law’ ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October.

The charity has teamed up with leading academics in the field Dr Emma Jones (University of Sheffield), Professor Richard Collier (University of Newcastle), Caroline Strevens (Reader in Legal Education, University of Portsmouth) and Lucinda Soon (Solicitor and PhD researcher) along with Nick Bloy (Executive Coach and founder of Wellbeing Republic) and Kayleigh Leonie (LawCare trustee and solicitor) to develop the research study which will look at the impact of work culture and working practices on the wellbeing of legal professionals. The research seeks to understand  the day to day realities of life in the law and uses three academic research scales for burn-out, psychological safety and autonomy. Anyone working in the legal industry, including support staff, can complete the online questionnaire across the UK, Ireland, UK, ROI, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The results will form the basis of an academic paper and will be announced next year.

Elizabeth Rimmer CEO of LawCare said: “This is the biggest ever piece of academic research into wellbeing in the legal industry in the UK and Ireland and we hope it will give us a clear picture of how the culture and practice of law affects mental health. The results will help us to improve the support available to legal professionals and drive long lasting change in legal workplaces so that people working in the law can thrive. We would urge anyone working in the legal profession to take part.”

Dr Emma Jones Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield said: “This study is an opportunity to obtain important empirical data on the wellbeing of legal professionals. The findings will give us a valuable insight into the impacts of legal practice and legal culture on individual legal practitioners, raise understanding and awareness of the key issues influencing wellbeing and help shape the development of appropriate and sustainable responses.”

 Take part at


For all media enquiries contact Gemma Matthews, Communications Manager on or 07813 949633

About LawCare

  • LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. We work to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces.
  • We’re here to help through our confidential helpline, email, webchat and one-to-one peer support network. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland) and you can access other support, information and resources at (
  • We help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent attorneys, costs lawyers, and their staff and families.
  • Our support spans the legal life from student to training to practice and retirement.


Used Stamps Appeal

Annual Stamp Challenge!  This year Clair, in the BLS office, is continuing the success of her used stamp collecting.  Last year she collected in the region of 6kg of stamps for Clic Sargent as her godson was suffering from Leukemia.  This year she has chosen the National Eye Research Centre.  Please encourage your staff to collect at home and your post rooms to save the stamps for her.  For every 1kg of stamps the charity will get £20.  When you have an A4 envelope or a carrier bag full please email Clair to arrange collection at

VWV Lawyer Appointed As Bristol’s Honorary Consul for Germany








VWV Associate Kai von Pahlen has recently been appointed as Honorary Consul for Germany in Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire, by the German Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Andreas Michaelis.

At a socially distanced appointment ceremony, Kai was joined by Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol) and Tim Illston (former Honorary Consul for Germany), when the Ambassador announced Kai’s appointment.


German Honorary Consuls are volunteers who are well connected in the community and offer valuable representation and assistance to German citizens, including in emergency situations. They also play a role in developing and maintaining British-German cooperation and friendship in fields such as trade, economy, culture and science.

Kai was born in Hamburg, but studied law in the UK. He is bilingual in English/German and experienced in advising on cross-border issues through his work as a Construction & Engineering Associate at VWV. He also already holds an impressive list of honorary appointments, having previously served as the regional head of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany and of Junior Chamber International. Kai also currently serves as a committee member of the Bristol Hannover Council, which represents a British-German twinning relationship that goes back to 1947.


Kai commented on his appointment: “It is a great privilege to accept this appointment as Honorary Consul for Germany. It was an absolute pleasure to take over this role from Tim, and to meet Mayor Rees and HE Ambassador Michaelis. Particularly in the current climate, I look forward to looking after German citizens in my area and helping to maintain friendship and cooperation between the UK and Germany.”

Photograph, left to right: Tim Illston (the former Honorary Consul), Kai von Pahlen, Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol) and Andreas Michaelis (German ambassador to the UK)


How is your workplace changing due to Covid-19?

Alongside Management Today, Hays want to hear your views on the workplace of tomorrow in light of Covid-19.

Share your views to help inform our research on the future of the workplace, the growth of hybrid working and increased remote working.

Take the survey here

Hays – New Diversity & Inclusion Report 2020- Flexible working, equality & Covid-19



This year there has seen unprecedented disruption to how we work. The Covid-19 crisis rapidly sped up the adoption of flexible working, which could also could create the opportunity for real change to workplace diversity.

Request your copy of the Hays Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Report 2020 to find out:

  • How the journey towards genuine equality in the workplace is progressing
  • How offering flexible working can attract more diverse talent
  • How the Covid-19 pandemic is shaping organisations’ flexible working offerings
  • How employers and employees can reap the ED&I rewards of flexible working

Request your copy of the report here:






Bristol + Bath LegalTech Survey – please complete!


Whitecap is delighted to have been commissioned by the Bristol Law Society, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bristol+Bath LegalTech, to deliver a report to provide a comprehensive analysis of the region’s strengths in LegalTech and innovation and provide recommendations for the growth of the sector.

One of the region’s leading law firms, Foot Anstey LLP, has signed up as the first business partner and we are seeking further partners to support this work.

To find out more please contact Stuart Harrison, Whitecap’s Associate Director for the South West or Chris Bull, a well known legal sector specialist who we are delighted to have working with us on this important project.

We are conducting an online survey which we encourage anyone with an interest in LegalTech in the region complete: