Society's News

Notification of Bristol Law Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Bristol Law Society will take place virtually on Tuesday 17 November.  Attendees will be able to join from 5.45pm and the meeting will start promptly at 6pm.  If you wish to attend, please email and the joining details will be forwarded to you a few days before the meeting. Please see below all the … more

Corporate Members 2020

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

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


Video: Feeding Bristol Webinar on Food Justice – BLS Charity of the Year

LSB – State of Legal Services Report 2020

Please click the link to download:

State of Legal Services Report 2020

WECA support for business and residents

WECA has put together the attached short summary document which summarises the work they are leading through the Regional Recovery Plan.

It also outlines the support now available to businesses and individuals to help them through Covid-19.

Financial Remedy Court Notice – HHJ Cope Nov 2020


Her Honour Judge Stephanie Cope

Lead Judge for Financial Remedy Work for Bristol

Financial Remedy Court

As you know the FR pilot on the Western circuit launched on 1 October 2020. Within this the Bristol Zone covers all financial remedy work for Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Salisbury, Swindon and Weston super Mare.

There is now a list of accredited financial remedy judges and a new allocation process in place.  In addition to the application the court requires a completed allocation questionnaire and, if further information would assist, a letter (no more than one side of A4) to assist appropriate allocation by one of the District Judges at the court where the hearings are likely to take place. Any letter must be no longer than one side of A4 to allow the system to be manageable. Everyone is feeling the pressure of remote working, including court staff and judges. I do not want to overburden the court staff and my colleagues at an already difficult and stressful time. To this end an application submitted without an allocation questionnaire or breaching the ‘one side of A4 rule’ will be returned.

The additional information in the covering letter should simply be a short summary of the case, if indeed this is needed. It should contain sufficient additional information that is not covered by the allocation questionnaire to allow an informed decision on the appropriate judicial allocation and any need for continuity up until the final hearing.

The system is in place for all applications within the Bristol Zone received after 1 October 2020. The applications (and additional documentation) should continue to be sent to the RDC at least for the time being (in due course they will be sent to Bristol for all courts within the Bristol Zone and you will be kept up to date about this). Please share this letter with as many of your colleagues as possible as it appears that not everyone is aware of the FR pilot launch.

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 (

Finally, despite the disruption and difficulties presented by Covid-19, financial remedy work remains well suited to take place remotely. This potentially includes some final hearings. Everyone is to be commended for embracing the technology and I hope we will all continue to develop our skills to ensure as many hearings as possible are effective.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

Best wishes

Her Honour Judge Stephanie Cope

17 November 2020





Right to vote on changes to The Law Society council – check your contact details are up to date – DEADLINE 20th Nov!

The Law Society have extended the deadline for solicitors to provide an up-to-date email address and ensure they are not opted out of Law Society membership (non-marketing) communications to Friday 20 November.

This is to make sure no member is disenfranchised from a key vote on proposed changes to the Law Society’s Council.

How to check and update your details

You can check your email address by:

You can also confirm that your preferences for receiving membership (non-marketing) emails from the Law Society are up to date via the Support Centre.

Most members are already set up to vote, but it’s important to check your details by 20 November, so that you do not lose your opportunity to have your say.



Ben Holt AGM 2020 Round-up (VIDEO)

For written report – click here

The Great Legal Quiz – 25th Nov @7pm

We are delighted to bring you The Great Legal Quiz – hosted by our Ben Holt and raising funds for local legal advice services: SWLST

Reserve your team place here and don’t forget to make your donation here !

Bristol & Taunton Courts – Operational updates regarding Covid-19 cases


Read the full letters via the links below:

Covid 19 response court users – Taunton Combined Court – Shire Hall

Bristol Civil Justice Centre 28 Oct

Update 9 Nov – Bristol Civil Justice Centre


Calling all poets!

Are you interested in working with Bristol Old Vic and Vanessa Kisuule (the until recently the city’s poet) on some new poems for Bristol exploring stories from the bible, from communities and from folklore? We are looking for groups from across the city to help shape and develop the poems and would like to work with a group of lawyers. A series of conversations over November will shape one of the poems and become part of our Christmas show for 2020. To find out more, please contact

Notification of Bristol Law Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Bristol Law Society will take place virtually on Tuesday 17 November.  Attendees will be able to join from 5.45pm and the meeting will start promptly at 6pm.  If you wish to attend, please email and the joining details will be forwarded to you a few days before the meeting.

Please see below all the relevant information.

Agenda 2020

Minutes of 2019 AGM

AGM Proxy Form (general) (2020)

AGM Proxy Form (President – Vice President) (2020)

BLS – Amended Articles of Association for adoption at AGM on 17 November 2020 – tracked changes

BLS – Amended Articles of Association for adoption at AGM on 17 November 2020 (Clean)

Nomination Form for Election to BLS Council (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:


Govt Funding for Re-Training those whose roles at risk from AI/automation

MyKindaFuture & the Government National Retraining Scheme:
Applying behavioural science and technology to upskill those in roles at risk of automation:

Open the full PDF here :NESTA Employer Engagement Project

Contact Simon Reichwald, Mykindafuture on 07813 793240 or for further details

Click here to enlarge

Digital Workshops to Help the Underrepresented Pursue a Career in the Legal Sector

Legal work experience coalition PRIME has commissioned talent specialist MyKindaFuture to deliver a series of digital workshops for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Following a competitive tender process, PRIME has commissioned MyKindaFuture, the overlooked talent specialist, to deliver a series of digital workshops for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK this autumn. This follows a successful pilot that PRIME undertook last year, involving member firms Brodies, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pinsent Masons, along with support from Thorntons.

23[1] firms have already signed up to host 25 two-hour workshops, focusing on students in Years 9-11, and S2 – S3 in Scotland, living in some of the UK’s social mobility ‘cold spots’, where a lack of opportunities and awareness of certain sectors, together with very little support, can prevent young people from pursuing viable career options. This is a great display of the collaboration between PRIME member firms. All have a shared mission of improving access into the legal profession.

The sessions will help introduce students to the prospect of a career in law and the variety of roles available to them. Leading representatives from a wide array of law firms, such as Brodies and DWF, will be participating in the workshops, sharing their personal experiences, demystifying the routes into the sector, and answering any questions.

Kirstie Maclennan of Brodies’ who led the PRIME working group said “I am delighted that the hard work that went into the pilot showed what a difference several law firms working together could make and provided a springboard for PRIME to launch this major project with MyKindaFuture”.

Will Akerman, Founder and MD at MyKindaFuture, explains: “We’re working with PRIME to help inspire, motivate and support young people when it comes to their career options. We want to open their eyes to the possibility of working in the legal sector by becoming a lawyer, paralegal, conveyancer or any other role that grabs their attention.

“There is so much talent that comes from disadvantaged backgrounds that can only be reached via a targeted approach, which is why we’re so pleased that PRIME has partnered with us to engage with overlooked and hard-to-reach, talented young people, and offer them the opportunities they deserve.

“We believe that engagement with companies is essential for students to develop their practical and employability skills, and the workshops will facilitate this. Our work will also help businesses to connect with a more diverse talent pool at the earliest stage possible, whilst providing students with all the tools they need to kick start an educational journey via work experience, internships and ultimately, careers.”

Nicholas Cheffings, PRIME Chair said “I am delighted that PRIME will be working with MyKindaFuture on the roll-out of this fabulous initiative. Now, more than ever, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds need the opportunity to hear about career options and begin to believe that law is a viable one for them. It is so important that we reach students in these cold spot areas where we, as a profession, are simply not getting enough traction”.

The partnership between MyKindaFuture and PRIME will continue into 2021 when it plans to host physical workshops in law firms across the UK.

Will Akerman concludes: “At a time when lockdown restrictions caused by COVID-19 have stripped young people of many opportunities, we’re delighted to be able to use our experience in virtual events to support PRIME to reach disadvantaged students in the UK’s ‘cold spots’, where opportunities are scarce, to help them believe in a future full of possibilities.”

For more information, visit and

or contact :

Simon Reichwald, Strategic Lead for Talent

M: 07813 793240

About MyKindaFuture

MyKindaFuture is the UK’s leading overlooked talent specialist. The company works with employers to attract, recruit and retain underrepresented and diverse talent, including young people and those returning to the workplace.


PRIME is an alliance of law firms across the UK, committed to improving access to the legal profession through work experience.

[1]Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie LLP, BCLP, Brodies, Clifford Chance, CMS, Dentons, DWF, Eversheds, Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer, Gibson Dunn, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Lewis Silkin, MacRoberts LLP, Macfarlanes LLP, Mayer Brown, Pinset Masons, Skadden, Arps, Slare, Meagher & Flom, Stephenson Harwood, White & Case LLP, Womble Bond Dickinson


Movers & Shakers!

Regional law firm Wards Solicitors LLP is delighted to announce the promotion of Rachael Thomas to Partner.

Rachael is an experienced Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity solicitor, and deals with Will drafting, Inheritance Tax and Administration of Estates, along with Mental Capacity work including Lasting Powers of Attorney.  She qualified as a solicitor in 2005, and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

Rachael has also just qualified for full TEP membership of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the leading worldwide industry body for senior practitioners that represents the highest of professional standards.

In addition, Solicitor Emily Moberly and Solicitor Associate Alison Mellor who also work in Wards’ Wills Probate and Mental Capacity team have been newly accredited with full TEP membership. This brings the total number of fully qualified TEP solicitors at Wards to 13.

Commenting, Wards’ Managing Partner David Sheridan said: “We are lucky to have a whole host of talented individuals within the business, and as our firm continues its growth, we are committed to helping them develop further with their careers. Rachael’s promotion and Emily and Alison’s achievements are a reflection of their hard work and dedication, even during these difficult times, and demonstrate the high level of expertise we offer our clients across our range of services. ”

Rachael Thomas’s promotion to Partner follows a record number of promotions announced by Wards Solicitors this summer.  In June, the firm created four new Partnerships, and promoted two of its solicitors to Associate level.

Wards Solicitors LLP is a well-established regional law firm with eleven offices across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset and North Somerset.  The company employs more than 75 legal specialists who provide a full range of legal services to both local businesses and individuals.

Financial Remedy Consent applications- change of procedure

Please note that from 24th August 2020 legal professionals must make Financial Remedy consent applications using the Online Financial Remedy consent order service. To register for this service (‘My HMCTS’) and to find further information, please visit the following link:

The practice direction to support this change (PD36T) will be issued on 24th August 2020 and makes temporarily modifications to PD41B. This makes the use of the online system mandatory for consent applications where the applicant is legally represented, unless one of the following exceptions applies:

  • The application is for a Variation order
  • There are existing Financial Remedy Proceedings
  • The matter is a Civil Partnership or Judicial Separation case

If one of the above exceptions applies, you should issue your application via paper.

Legal Professionals can also use the MyHMCTS service to issue divorce and Probate proceedings.


Risk Management by Marsh JLT Specialty- Webcasts, Retainer Letters Pt 1 & Pt 2

Part One

Victoria Prescott focuses on the relevant regulatory obligations and guidance, significant case law, and the findings and conclusions that may be drawn from our survey of claims handled by panel firms:

Part Two

John Kunzler discusses the human factors and underlying behaviours involved, why achieving high levels of compliance may be difficult, and the link with negligence):

Will Search

We have been contacted by a local firm acting in the estate of Neil Herbert Filer, late of 5 Greenfield Road, Southmead, Bristol, BS10 5NA.  They are seeking to locate an original Will.  It is understood that the Will was drawn up approximately 2 years ago by a firm raising money for Children in Need, the client visited on a Saturday.  Did your firm support this charity at that time and could you have any information regarding the whereabouts of this Will.  Please contact Clair on 0117 9458486 or

Feeding Bristol’s Healthy Holidays 2020

Feeding Bristol is BLS’s Charity of the Year.

If you can help to spread the word by sharing Feeding Bristol’s Healthy Holidays 2020 fundraiser within your networks, that will help increase awareness of the issue of hungry and disadvantaged children within Bristol, and hopefully raise some funds also.

There is also lots of social media activity that would be great if you can re-tweet/post/etc

Fundraiser video:




New study shows online legal mediation could be the future

A new study by the Association of South West Mediators and Bristol Law Society has revealed that many legal professionals think online mediation has been a success.

Mediation plays an increasingly important role in modern dispute resolution, helping individuals and businesses avoid more costly court actions by allowing a third-party, the mediator, to help resolve conflicts. Like every other aspect of life it has not been immune to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and has had to adapt.

It might not have been unreasonable to have thought that a process that involves building empathy with the parties and which can often last all day and go on late into the night would have been very difficult to move “online”.

Perhaps it is therefore surprising that the latest study by the two South West legal groups found that 72 per cent of respondents felt online mediation was as or more effective than traditional face-to-face mediation.

Incredibly 100 per cent of respondents said that online mediation was more convenient, while 91 per cent found it to be more cost-effective.

More than half agreed that online mediation meetings were easier for elderly people (54 per cent) and people with disabilities (62 per cent).

As a result of the overall findings, nearly a quarter said they would prefer to do mediations online in future, with 60 per cent saying they would use virtual meetings again but that it would depend on the circumstances of each case.

Roger Isaacs a forensic accountant and partner of Milsted Langdon LLP, who is also a mediator and expert witness with considerable experience in giving evidence virtually said: “The concept of conducting mediations on line would have been very unlikely ever to have been tested had it not been for the necessities of the past few months.

“As it is, the experience has been much more positive that many might have predicted with almost a quarter in favour of conducting more online meetings in future and a further 60 per cent agreeing that they may prove useful post-COVID-19.  Online mediation may therefore be a lasting legacy of the Lockdown.”

“From a personal standpoint, I have been pleasantly surprised by the flexibility and convenience of online meetings and look forward to doing more of them.” he added

July 2020

Urgent Court Notice – Wearing of Face Masks

Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre

Wearing of face covering in court buildings:

We’re now asking that all court and tribunal users wear a face covering effective from Monday 27 July 2020. This will also include all HMCTS staff members being required to wear a face covering in the public areas. If you need one, they will be made available to you, though we request that you bring your own. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a practical reason not to. For example:

  • you have disability or health issue that makes it difficult
  • wearing one will cause you severe distress
  • a deaf person needs to read your lips
  • you are eating, drinking or taking medicine.

Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face covering.

You may be asked to temporarily remove your face covering for identification purposes. The judge or magistrate may also ask that face coverings are temporarily removed. If you need to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound, they may ask you to take your face covering off.



Safer working at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre -You tube video:

Safer working at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre -You tube video:

The court has produced a “youtube” video to assist court users on the safety arrangements in place at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre as a result of Covid 19.

You are encouraged to view this video before attending your court hearing.

A link to this video is provided:

Mobile Device and Laptop Covid-19 Appeal

Download PDF here

If you are able to assist please email Hayliegh Beckles at BITC who is coordinating the responses 

2020/21 Queen’s Counsel Honoris Causea nominations

The Ministry of Justice has launched the 2020/21 round of Queen’s Counsel honoris causa (honorary silk) awards by inviting nominations. All practitioners and members of the public are free to make nominations (including self-nominations if they qualify) directly to the Ministry of Justice.

In addition, The Law Society is participating in this process, as in previous years, by seeking to make nominations itself of solicitor members of The Law Society. Office holders are securing coverage for The Law Society’s role as nominator by means of publicity in the Professional Update, local law societies announcement, and The Law Society web site (see External Appointments) inviting nominations. We are inviting people to nominate themselves, or others, to us. Office holders will then select those who will go forward as nominees of The Law Society.

The way in which to make a nomination for this process is by providing basic personal details of the nominee (or yourself) and the following:

  • Legal qualifications and legal experience to date
  • What significant contribution have they made to the law in England and Wales other than in court
  • Major contribution beyond what might normally be expected for someone in their position
  • Why you think this person should be nominated by The Law Society as an Honorary QC

Please download and complete the standard nomination form from the Ministry of Justice web site along with further details.

Please send your completed form to no later than 12 noon on Monday 27 July 2020 for consideration by The Law Society for submission to the Ministry of Justice. Nomination by The Law Society is subject to our own internal review and is, of course, no guarantee of ultimate success in the competition. As mentioned above, you are free to nominate yourselves or anyone you wish direct to the Ministry of Justice.

Survey – The Disclosure Pilot in the Business and Property Courts – 18 months in

The disclosure pilot scheme introduced by PD51U (the Pilot) has applied to all proceedings in the Business and Property Courts since 1 January 2019 and is set to run until January 2021.

As we approach the 18 month mark, BLS is keen to understand the experiences of practitioners and their clients working with the Pilot. This is a living Pilot and the feedback you give will hopefully be used to shape how the rules will be implemented in the future. This is your chance to have your say now you have had some experience of how the Pilot operates.

This questionnaire is aimed at finding out how the Pilot is performing on a practical level and understanding any day to day issues faced by practitioners using the Pilot. The results of this questionnaire may be reported to the judges of the BPCs in Bristol in an anonymised format – no names will be provided.

The questionnaire should take no more than 10 minutes or so and allows you to input any more detailed comments you may have. If you have any other points you would like to raise, please contact

Click here to take the questionnaire.

The questionnaire will close on  30 September 2020.

Our thanks to Leeds Law Society for permission to recreate this survey





Wessex Searches – Different office – same great service

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Note from HHJ Wildblood on Family Listing



22nd June 2020
Note about Family listing

1.When lockdown started many of us thought that it would only be a matter of weeks, or a few months at most, before everything reverted to normal. We know, now, that we are in this for the long haul.

2. Events over the past three months have placed a huge strain on everybody and I am really grateful for the way in which everyone has pulled together to keep the system running in these exceptional times. However, these events have taken a huge toll on many and, foremost amongst them, are the members of the Family Court listing team.

3. The Family Court listing team members never complain. They have been coming into the court office and working overtime at weekends to keep things going. But this has now reached a crisis point and I need to ask for your help in supporting them.

4. The listing teams has over 720 pieces of work outstanding and the amount of work is increasing. They cannot continue to bear that burden.

5. Therefore, please can I ask you to do the following:

i) Please do not send any emails to the Family listing office unless your email is genuinely necessary.

ii) Please do not make multiple requests for the same thing. The team is working as hard as they can and is doing its utmost to get through the work. But multiple requests clog up the system and cause delay. We cannot have a system where the person who shouts most frequently and at greatest volume gets answered first. Where this occurs I have asked that it is referred to me and I will then take appropriate action.

iii) Where possible, please appoint one person from a case to correspond with the listing office on any point that arises. At present, for instance, the listing team are often getting multiple emails from all parties in public law cases about listing arrangements. Please appoint one person to contact the listing office on any joint issues and then ask that person to cascade the reply among the other parties.

iv) Do not leave the arrangements for remote hearings to discussion with the listing officer. The arrangements for remote hearings (e.g. which platform will be used, who will set up the hearing etc) should all be part of case management and should be resolved at a case management hearing or advocates’ meeting wherever possible. At present the court office gets many emails from parties to the same case making the same enquiries about this. That has to stop. Again, I have asked the listing officer to report to me if this does occur and I will then contact those who are responsible. Therefore, please do not leave a case management hearing (or other interlocutory hearing) without resolving how the next hearing will proceed and recording the arrangement on the face of the order.

v) Please do ensure that you have included directions for an advocates’ meeting when you settle orders for directions.

vi) If you need directions from the court, please consider whether it would be quicker and easier to email the Judge directly. Otherwise your email may be sitting in a backlog of emails in the listing office inbox.

vii) Please do not copy the listing office into emails between the parties (for instance, by using ‘reply all’) except where this is genuinely necessary for the work of the family listing office.

viii) Please keep correspondence about orders to a minimum. I actively encourage legal advisers and judges, please, to seal their own orders. Legal advisers and judges can also help by completing what are called hearing outcome sheets at the end of each day.

6. If we do not take these measures the listing office will fall increasingly behind. There are no quick fixes to this and so we have to do our best with the resources that we have. The listing officers are people and, like all of us, they are trying to do the best job they can whilst still also preserving an overall way of life that is at least reasonable. Please help them. Thank you.

Stephen Wildblood QC.
22nd June 2020

Junior Lawyers – we’ve got your back – SBA The Solicitor’s Charity







Junior lawyers – we’ve got your back

Do you work closely with Junior Lawyers? If so, we need your help in reaching those at the start of their careers. Please share this post with colleagues.

By now, you may be aware of our COVID-19 Support Hub and £1 million Personal Hardship Fund for those affected by coronavirus. Since launching these a few months back, we’ve received a number of applications from a broad range of solicitors. One group in particular is Junior Lawyers.

Recently we joined a webinar hosted by LawCare to highlight the help available for this group. Joined by representatives from LawCare, Solicitors Assistance Scheme and the Junior Lawyers Division, we discussed key challenges and signed posted where to receive assistance.

Are you Fit for Law? LawCare updates and free webinar


Are you Fit for Law?

Some think there is no place for emotion in the law and believe emotions interfere with rational thinking. In fact there is a huge body of scientific evidence which proves cognition and emotion are intertwined. If we consider that emotions affect your actions, decision-making, reasoning, thought processes and judgement, we can clearly see the relevance of emotion in the law.

Often lawyers enter the workplace without the emotional competencies needed to meet the demands of an evolving profession. Emotional competency is about how we understand and handle our emotions, as well as identifying and interpreting emotional responses around us.

Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation is one way to equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

LawCare and academics at The Open University and the University of Sheffield have developed a new free online resource on emotional competency and professional resilience for the legal community.

The interactive resource, called Fit for Law, is part of an on-going project to promote psychologically and emotionally healthier ways of working within law and was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland. The course takes 2-4 hours in total to complete but is broken down into smaller sections, and includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of interactive activities.

The goal is to foster enhanced wellbeing, to support legal professionals to not just survive, but to also thrive, within a challenging work environment.

In addition to providing resources aimed at individual practitioners, the resources we are developing will include a tool kit for employers, to encourage positive organisational and cultural change in the legal workplace.

The resources are available to everyone studying law or working in the legal profession. For more information visit

If you need emotional support call LawCare on 0800 279 6888 or visit to access webchat, email support and other resources.

You can also view the video clips from Fit for Law on our You Tube channel


There is a free webinar, with Emma Jones of the University of Sheffield, the co author of Fit for Law, on June 24 1630-1730 to explain what Fit for Law is and how it can be used, here is the link to the webinar details and sign up

LawCare continue to add new resources to our covid hub, 40% of our support contacts have a covid element, with returning to work and concerns about having a job and the future being common reasons for reaching out to us for support. You can find all our covid resources here


Online Mediations Survey

The Association of South West Mediators is conducting a survey on online mediations. If you have experience of an online mediation please do get involved and give us your feedback here

Feedback from the survey will be shared.


Trainees – The Law Society updates – Covid-19