Society's News


Corporate Members 2022

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


BLS Annual Awards Dinner 3rd November 2022

Check out our digital Awards Brochure with a welcome from our C0-Presidents, full details of the award categories and links to our wonderful supporters who make this event possible. We look forward to celebrating the best of the local profession with you on 3rd November! BLS Awards 2022 Digital Brochure


Mediation Research in Bristol Courts


Following a recent visit to Bristol in late 2012, the Law Society President John Wotton remarked on the excellence of Bristol as a legal centre, describing it as “a very forward-looking, innovative and competitive legal market”. (Bristol Law Society news). If he had visited more recently, he might have commented on other specific legal developments – no, not the jury-led acquittal of the Colston Four (though that dispute would have been an interesting one to mediate!) but the new direction to mediate that is being issued out of the Bristol Courts in Multi-track cases deemed suitable.  It reads:

“The claim is stayed until [2] months from date of issue of order to enable mediation to take place.

Any party may apply to extend the stay to enable completion of the mediation provided such application is made no later than 7 days before expiry of the current stay.”

How has this arisen?

Does mediation save time and money?

Most experienced mediators can tell you stories of disputes which seemed intractable, but which have settled through mediation. However, there is still a surprising lack of qualitative and quantitative evidence of the real impact mediation has on parties and their advisers not to mention the significant savings of costs for the parties and the court system.

What is particularly telling is that the court system currently has no means of monitoring the impact of mediation on their caseload. If a case settles prior to trial the court may be asked to seal a Tomlin Order, but the court staff have no means of knowing whether the settlement was achieved through mediation or by other means.

For more than a year, leading members of the Association of South West Mediators (ASWM) have been working with the Ministry of Justice and the Bristol Courts to explore ways of collecting evidence which might help to shed light on this issue. As a result, the MOJ has designed a research project which encourages parties and their solicitors to give feedback on how the mediation process has worked for them in referrals made through ASWM.

If you have a case where you are considering mediation and want to take part in the research, please contact enquiries@aswm.org.uk

What next

There is ongoing debate about whether mediation should be made compulsory in a higher proportion of cases. The recent CJC report concluded that such a system would not be unlawful but there still appears to be a lack of confidence is some judicial quarters that mediation can deliver the justice the parties are seeking.

The hope is that if those in a position to influence the use of mediation can see the tangible benefits that the mediators see, then parties, lawyers and even judges will feel more confident in taking part.