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 Nomination Brochure 2022 Nomination Online Submissions Booking Form 2022

This Doesn’t Look Like Justice – The parlous state of criminal justice in the South West.

The Leader of the Western Circuit, Kate Brunner QC, has, alongside Anna Midgley and Holly Rust compiled a report, This Doesn’t Look Like Justice, showing how justice is being denied to victims and their families, as well as all other users of the criminal justice system. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

Their report provides evidence of a wider national problem: cuts to court sitting days have led to complainants abandoning trials, cases being delayed so they are heard years after arrests and massive upheaval to everyone whose lives are affected by the court system.
Cuts made by the Ministry of Justice to the number of days that courts are allowed to be open have led to the courts being “…more over-loaded than ever before” with “Courts never seem[ing] to have enough days for the trials they have”. Court users are finding that “trial with vulnerable witnesses are [postponed], in favour of less serious trials” with one judge observing that “It is difficult for vulnerable witnesses to understand why their case is not being heard for at least six months”.

The long term effect of witnesses refusing to co-operate with the prosecution after adjournments or of complainants having to find travel to court centres 75 miles away from where their cases were supposed to be heard demonstrate the unintended consequences cuts to the justice system are now having.

A detailed survey carried out by the authors at Gloucester Crown Court in November and December 2019 demonstrates just how poorly the criminal justice system is serving the residents of Gloucestershire. The report recommends:

  • An urgent increase in the number of court sitting days;
  • No reduction in available courtrooms in small court centres;
  • The Ministry of Justice publish statistics showing the current delays being experienced for trials;
  • Current statistics should be kept up to date and more accurately reflect the delays from the start of the court process, not just once cases reach the Crown Courts;
  • The Ministry of Justice should take greater account of what resident judges, and listings officers, who work day to day in their own court centres, are saying about the effect of closed courtrooms;
  • In reaching decisions about how many days for which courtrooms should be kept open, the effect on all court users, and not simply a numerical calculation of a backlog, should be taken into account.

These recommendations, and the problems that have led to them, are merely symptomatic of a wider national problem. Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice is currently being denied to many vulnerable people in our criminal courts.