Hampshire Legal June 2024

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Annual Dinner and Awards 2024


 CPD Program

 Council Member’s Report

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Ian Fletcher

Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building,

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Tel: 0151 236 4141

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Web: www.benhampublishing.com


Joanne Casey


Karen Hall


John Barry




June 2024 © Benham Publishing Ltd.


© Benham Publishing Limited.

None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Media. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.


The Hampshire Incorporated Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation.

All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between members and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance.

Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.


IL-R: Tom Mitchell, Hampshire Law Society President, Jess Marshall from Wessex Cancer Support (our nominated charity) and Shaun Jardine guest speaker.

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Anyone wishing to submit editorial for publication in Hampshire Legal please contact Nicola Jennings before the copy deadline. administration@hampshirelawsociety.co.uk


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It has been a busy few months here at Hampshire Incorporated Law Society (“HILS”).

A lot of the work done is very much behind the scenes. The various committees have been meeting regularly to try and enhance what we can do for you, the members.

We are looking to expand our offerings for lectures and webinars. We already have a good lecture programme but it is always sensible to see where things can be improved and we are looking at some more pervasive subjects such as equality, diversity and well-being. We’ll keep you posted.

We have had quite a few events recently. There was a highly successful bowling evening in Southampton in April where a good number of members came out and enjoyed a social evening with good conversation and a few strikes as well.

There was the annual quiz, also in April, which is always a great event. I won’t go into too much detail here as I have written a separate piece for this but suffice to say, here, it was well attended and great fun.

We then had our annual dinner in May which took a lot of preparation and organising but went off really well. Again, I have prepared a separate article for this event so won’t say any more here save that we raised a good amount of money for our charity, Wessex Cancer Support.

Our social committee is seeing if a new event can be held later on in the year (linked with the JLD) and initial plans are in hand and we hope this comes to fruition so, for now, please watch this space.

Part of being President is the opportunity and privilege to attend various functions. I have been lucky enough, with Mo Aldridge (the past President) to travel up to Birmingham in April to meet up with many representatives of other local law societies from around the country. This is an invaluable chance to discuss the day to day running of HILS with others and swap ideas. To have a broader network of contacts and other like minded individuals is always a good thing and hopefully helps HILS offerings to our members better. I certainly gained a lot from the day and hope others did too.

President’s Review

JUNE 2024

I attended the Bournemouth & District Law Society dinner also in April. This was a lovely evening and hosted by its president, Michael Newbold.

I was unable to attend the Dorset Law Society dinner a week after the Bournemouth & District Law Society dinner but Mo Aldridge attended and I am told was an equally enjoyable evening.

As Mo touched upon in her article from November 2023, HILS is assisting with the Hampshire Pro-Bono Committee to champion pro-bono activities and access to justice for all. Mo is joint chair of this committee and I am proud of HILS involvement and also Mo’s determination and drive in helping with this most worthwhile project.

We also continue to respond to Law Society consultations so that our members voices are heard at national level.

As always, if anybody has any ideas for anything HILS could offer please do let us know. We are very much open to new ideas and want to do our best to make sure HILS remains relevant to our members.

I hope everyone has a productive, prosperous and enjoyable next few months. ■

Tom Mitchell

CPD Programme 2024


Tuesday 11 June 2024 | 3.00-4.30pm Via Zoom

No 18 Chambers

Pensions : PAG2 at a glance, identifying the key issues

The PAG report provides a goldmine of information in the area of pensions on divorce and provides great practical guidance and clarity on many issues .Ricard Carroll will look at the changes made by PAG 2 and identify the key issue


Tuesday 18 June 2024 | 3.15-4.45pm Via Zoom

Kerry Morgan-Gould Kerry is a Partner and Head of the Trusts & Estates Team at Ashfords LLP. Kerry has been qualified for 12 years.

She advises private individuals, charities and trustees in relation to all matters arising out of contentious Wills, Trusts and Estates. In addition, Kerry also advises clients in relation to contentious Court of Protection matters.

Devilishly Devious – why things are not always as they seem …

With the assistance of case study that will be provided in advance, Kerry will guide delegates through a fictional case study that will touch on:

Inventory and Account applications, Executor/Trustee removal

The Self-Dealing rule Witnesses, documents and credibility


Thursday 20 June 2024 | 3.00-4.30pm Via Zoom

Richard Snape is a consultant with Davitt Jones Bould. He is a renowned speaker on all aspects of Real Estate Law and he lectures nationwide to a wide audience. Richard has a reputation for delivering practical advice in an entertaining and engaging way.

Conveyancing continues to undergo major changes and the course will aim to look at the most important changes and their effect on the conveyancer.


Commercial Property continues to undergo major changes. In particular, there are some very significant recent commercial lease cases. This session will cover developments in:

• The Building Safety Act 2022 and its effect on mixeduse premises and purchasing the reversion of residential developments;

• Lease renewals and recent case law;


• Break clauses in the light of the case of Thomas v Turner;

• Service charges in the light of the Supreme Court case of Sara & Hossein v Blacks;

• The latest on Energy Performance Certificates;

• Green Lease Clauses;

• The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act and high street rental auctions;

• Auction sales in the light of SPS v Mahil;

• Latest Developments in planning.


The programme will be updated once additional information is received from speakers. Information will be distributed via email and in the quarterly magazine.

You can find more detail on each lecture on our website: www.hampshirelawsociety.co.uk


ZOOM: 1.5 hour lecture = £35.00 (Non Member £50.00)

LIVE: 3 hour lecture= £90.00 (Non Member £130.00)

For Zoom Lectures the link will be provided in the days prior to the event Handouts will be emailed prior to each lecture


 All applications will receive a written confirmation of booking

 Payment can be made securely online or is required with the registration form. No places can be reserved without payment

 Booking is subject to availability of places

 Delegates may be substituted at any time with an appropriate additional payment for any non-members

 HILS accepts no responsibility for the views or opinions as expressed by the speakers, chairman or any other persons at the event

 HILS reserves the right to alter the venue, programme and the speakers at any time

 Claiming the member rate remains the responsibility of the claimant however HILS will ensure that you are charged the appropriate fee once membership status checked

Your membership also entitles you to attend live and online seminars run by some of our neighbouring law societies –check the website for details.

Hampshire Law Society Contacts

The following is an up-to-date list of committee members’ names and addresses and the sub committees to which they belong

Hampshire Law Society are looking for new Committee Members.

If you would like to join us please contact our administrator Nicola Jennings.  The committee meet every other month either via zoom or at an office.  It is normally a Tuesday at 5.45pm. We would love to welcome you to our Committee.


Russell Evans (Chair) russell.david@yahoo.co.uk

Kevin Richardson

Michelle Hurst

Vicky Chivers


Tom Mitchell


Botleigh Grange Business Park, Hedge End, Southampton SO30 2AF Tel: 02380 820465 tom.mitchell@trethowans.com

Vice President

Kevin Richardson Biscoes

Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth PO2 8AQ Tel: 02392 660261 krichardson@biscoes-law.co.uk

Honorary Secretary

Mo Aldridge

Jasper Vincent 44 Queensway, Southampton SO14 3GT Tel: 023 8063 3225 maldridge@jaspervincent.com

Honorary Treasurer

Kevin Richardson Biscoes

Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth PO2 8AQ Tel: 02392 660261


Immediate Past President

Mo Aldridge

Law Society Council Member

Adrienne Edgerley Harris


Star Lane House

Staple Gardens

Winchester SO23 9AD adrienneedgerleyharris@gmail.com


Nicola Jennings Tel: 023 8044 7022 administration@hampshirelawsociety.co.uk


Kevin Richardson


Education & Training

Tom Mitchell (Chair) tom.mitchell@trethowans.com

Mo Aldridge

Theresa Mills

Rachel Tombs

Nicola Jennings


Eliza Dowker (Chair) edowker@churchers.co.uk

Tebo Sebitlo

Naomi Taylor

Rachel Tombs

Non Contentious

Mo Aldridge (Chair) maldridge@jaspervincent.com

Matthew Robbins

Tom Mitchell

PR (inc Social)

Ian Robinson (Chair) irobinson@hotmail.co.uk

Mo Aldridge

Tom Mitchell

Harry Dancer

Rachel Tombs


Adrienne Edgerley Harris (Chair) adrienneedgerleyharris@gmail.com

kevin Richardson

Sarah Hallett

Giles Hall

James Saddler

Follow us on Twitter @hampshirelawsoc

Follow us on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/ company/hampshireincorporated-law-society/

The Annual Dinner – Macdonald Botley Park Hotel & Spa

Friday 10 May 2024

What an amazing turnout. We have to give huge thanks to our fantastic sponsors: Barclays UK, No. 18 Chambers, Dye & Durham Corporation, Orion Legal Marketing, Review Solicitors, On Point Data, Finders International Probate Genealogists and Iceberg Group. Their valuable contributions and support allowed us to have a photo pod, a DJ, a professional photographer, pre-dinner drinks, dinner drinks and an awesome speaker.

This outstanding evening was at the Macdonald Botley Park Hotel & Spa and we had a splendid 3 course meal alongside all the other entertainments (including a DJ) and then the presentation of the 2024 Legal Awards and a raffle to raise funds for our charity –Wessex Cancer.

Wessex Cancer Support (originally Wessex Cancer Trust) was formed in 1981 and was originally focused on raising funds for major projects and research. Improving the lives of people affected by cancer has always been at the hear of their work so in 2012 they expanded to start delivering community based services close to people’s homes. They have 34 cancer support centres along with a range of other non-clinical support services in this region. For more information on what they do and what they may need support with please visit www.wessexcancerg.org.uk.

Once again we were very fortunate to have some extremely generous raffle prizes donated and we finished on a high with these being drawn. We raised an amazing £745.00 for our charity which was very gratefully received. A brilliant effort by everyone to raise money for a very valuable local resource and charity.

We were also privileged to have an after dinner speaker: Shaun Jardine – a former litigation solicitor with a tilt towards mediation even before this became more mainstream. He is also involved in law firm management of a top 200 law firm. Shaun founded the Big Yellow Penguin in 2021 to try and help lawyers and law firms adopt up to date and more innovative practices including value

pricing with the aim of making lawyers’ futures more secure, both financially and operationally. In essence, Shaun’s message to us was to embrace change and act on it. Wise words indeed!

Following the above we had the 2024 Legal Awards. Very well done to all who were nominated and of course our Runners Up and Winners set out below:


Large Firm of the Year


Large Firm of the Year


Small Firm of the Year


Small Firm of the Year

WINNER Lawyer of the Year


Lawyer of the Year


Junior Lawyer of the Year


Junior Lawyer of the Year

Paris Smith LLP

Stowe Family Law

Biscoes Solicitors


Sarra Gravestock of Biscoes Solicitors

Clare Strachan of Phillips Law

Sam Longmore of Thrings Solicitors

Jade Bray of Stowe Family law

The evening continued following the formal part of the event with some relaxed social time and mingling. Lots of fun was had with the photo pod and some innovative dance moves to the DJ’s music. I believe the evening was a great success with plenty of laughs and entertainment. We very much hope that everyone had a great time and will join us again next year. ■

The Annual Quiz –Concorde Club, Eastleigh - Tuesday 16 April 2024

We had 14 teams attend this event which was hosted at the Concorde Club. The quiz was in aid of Wessex Cancer Support and overall an impressive £1200.00 was raised; thank you very much to everyone.

The quiz was sponsored by HW Conveyancing Searches and Quantuma – a huge thank you to them. Also to Quantuma for providing the Quiz Master.

Huge thanks to all the individuals and teams that took part it, it was a wonderful evening, with good food, good questions and some good competition. The curries served for dinner were very tasty and the venue had the bar open throughout for refreshments.

Congratulations go to the Winners of the Quiz 12CP with Lester Aldridge coming second. ■

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Client Payment Delays

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Biscoes Solicitors Relocates after 22 years

After 22 years at their North End head office, Biscoes Solicitors will be embarking on an exciting new chapter as the firm prepares to move to Lake House, Port Way in Port Solent. This significant milestone marks not only a physical relocation but also a symbolic transition towards further growth and development in an ever-evolving legal landscape.

Lake House, with its modern amenities and strategic location, provides an ideal setting for Biscoes to continue to deliver a bespoke legal service to all clients, all while embracing the future. The new modern office space not only offers an enhanced environment for Biscoes’ employees and clients but also represents a commitment to client-centric innovation.

Alison Lee, Managing Director at Biscoes, says ‘2024 marks the 170th year the firm has serviced clients’ legal requirements across the south coast and further afield. It’s an opportune moment for us to transition to modern premises, where we hope to embrace innovative ways of delivering our great service to every client every time!’

Blake Morgan advise Emsworth Yacht Harbour on the creation of Employee Ownership Trust

We are delighted to announce that award winning Blake Morgan has advised on the transition of Emsworth Yacht Harbour (EYH) to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Blake Morgan advised on the transaction, which included a creation of the EOT and subsequent sale and purchase of a majority stake to the EOT in a move believed to make Emsworth Yacht Harbour the UK’s first employee-owned marina.

EYH has been in operation in 1965 and was acquired by the Wakelin family in the 1990s. Alison Wakelin has been Managing Director since 2006 and overseen significant growth. The family now hold 20 per cent of the shares and as part of the move, Tom Marfleet will become managing director and Alison will move to a non-executive director role. Alison commented:

“As a family, we wanted to find a succession plan that would allow EYH to stay as an independent marina for the foreseeable future. Becoming an employee-owned business presented a perfect opportunity to safeguard the future of our community and allow us to continue to deliver a fantastic experience to our many loyal customers. We would like to thank Mat Wilson and the team at Blake Morgan for their expert advice and guidance throughout the process.”

Alongside the relocation of their head office, Biscoes will be incorporating the Portchester-based family department into Lake House.

The firm’s acquisition of Hudsons in Fareham and the office with Byrne Runicman Estate Agents in Wickham will give our clients from these areas locations where they can access our services. 

The Blake Morgan team were led by corporate partner, Mathew Wilson, with corporate colleagues Katie Newham and Rob Thomas assisting. Corporate consultant to Blake Morgan, David Daws has been appointed as the independent trustee to the EOT. Menzies LLP provided tax advice to EYH.

Corporate Partner, Mat Wilson commented: “We are delighted to have advised Emsworth Yacht Harbour on this milestone deal for them. Working with Alison has been an absolute pleasure and I wish her, Tom and the team every success. EOTs are a fast growing form of business ownership and they can really help motivate employees to drive further growth and innovation. With an organisation’s people being key to the culture and success of its’ business, to enable the staff to be part of the long-term success of the organisation, involved in governance matters and to benefit from future profits can be empowering and rewarding.” 

THANK YOU ANDREW! The man who took on a pioneering challenge, steps down as Managing Partner

After devoting 30 years of his legal career to the firm, eight of which have been in the role of Managing Partner, staff across all departments and offices of Dutton Gregory Solicitors are expressing their gratitude and respect for the dedication, innovation, and care of Andrew Tilley as he retires from its Partnership.

In April 2015, the then Head of Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution of Dutton Gregory Solicitors, Andrew Tilley, agreed to take on the role of Managing Partner. Soon after, he attended a Law Society Conference where a speaker asked how many of the Managing Partners in the room were still carrying out legal work?

‘I raised my hand, along with half those in attendance, and the speaker immediately challenged us,’ Andrew remembers. ‘He explained why being a Managing Partner was a full-time role, so I returned to my fellow Partners, and they agreed to my following the advice.’

It proved a timely and correct decision. Within weeks, three Partners announced their retirement, the leases of offices across Hampshire and Dorset were coming to an end at similar times and Andrew was tasked with creating and executing a strategy for the firm’s future.

‘It was a real ‘Baptism of Fire’,’ he recalls. ‘Most of my contacts and legal work were from London, and there wasn’t the collaborative approach amongst regional associations we have now, so I did feel rather alone. However, I was convinced of two things – to be outward looking and focus on people. Whether it was our staff, referrers trusting us with cases or the clients we were supporting, the legal profession is all about people.”

Andrew conducted a survey of clients who said, though the firm was professional, diligent, and reliable, it was also somewhat dated, fusty, and old-fashioned, hiding its success of the previous seven decades and the abilities and expertise of its staff.

From the point on, Andrew became a champion of growth, innovation, and reputation. Monday to Friday, he would be investigating paperless working, new technology and internal processes, while at weekends he found himself stood in skips outside former offices surrounded by the accumulation of decades of office activity.

It was whist on honeymoon in Maldives in March 2020, that Andrew received news of the global pandemic and, acting with speed and instinct, returned to the UK on the last flight that landed in Gatwick airport before the country’s first lockdown.

Immediately chairing emergency COBRA-style meetings, Andrew led an accelerated rollout of technology, made decisions regarding furlough, and successfully guided the firm through a period where other businesses struggled.

‘We had already introduced laptops for remote working, were in the Cloud and had implemented new software, so we were in a robust position that enabled us to achieve growth during the two years of COVID lockdowns.’

When asked about the secret to his success as Managing Partner, Andrews immediate response returns to his focus on people. ‘Having the support of colleagues and trusted people to advise and share thoughts with allows you to stand back and see the big picture. Once you have that, you can think about how to react to challenges and have clear idea of what needs to be achieved.’

‘It is a demanding role because, once you start to show successful delivery on objectives, people soon expect you to know absolutely everything. Your reactions and facial expressions are suddenly scrutinised, there are numerous decisions to be made every day, and there is so much psychology that comes with the leadership. I sometimes think I would recommend a degree in the subject for upcoming Managing Partners.’

Though retiring from the Partnership. Andrew will now be working as a consultant to continue his work on internal improvement projects.

‘I am so grateful that Andrew has agreed to stay with us a bit longer,’ says his successor, Paul Sams. ‘What he has achieved has been nothing short of a revolution and I know I will personally be seeking out his wisdom in the months ahead to maintain the drive and motivation he has created. Dutton Gregory is the firm it is today due to his leadership.’

‘It has been an absolute rollercoaster,” concludes Andrew. ‘Scary at times, exhilarating in others, but you must leave your ego at the door, overcome any Imposter Syndrome you may feel, and enjoy learning new things every day with a wide variety of people. I hope I have laid the foundation on which the firm can build and achieve its tremendous potential.’ 

Churchers Solicitors announce newest partner in the Child Law team

Churchers Solicitors is proud to announce Louise Jack as the firm’s newest partner in the Child Law team. Louise joined the firm in September 2015 as a Trainee Solicitor, qualified as a Solicitor in 2017 and was promoted to Associate in 2022, and gained her higher rights in 2024!

Louise specialises in Children Act matters, and undertakes a wide variety of private and public law cases. Additionally, she is an accredited member

of The Law Society’s Children Law Panel. The accreditation is designed for children law practitioners who are able to demonstrate awareness, knowledge and expertise in children law proceedings and the representation of children in such proceedings.

It has been an honour to see you grow in our firm and we are incredibly proud to have you as part of our team. Congratulations! 

Louise Jack
Andrew Tilley

Julie Gowland is officially properly retiring

Well, that time has finally arrived and Julie Gowland is officially properly retiring! Julie has been with Viva-Law / Jasper Vincent Solicitors since 2005 having worked in the Southampton legal scene for more than 45 years. She started her career working with Nicolls and Co and it quickly became apparent that she had an aptitude for the law and for working with people. Over the years she has worked for Kirklands, Footners and O’Hara’s before coming to VL/ JV some 19 years ago.

Julie has been a staple within the firm throughout her time with us. She has always been supportive, pragmatic and loyal and it is with sadness that we will be saying goodbye to seeing her regularly within the office.

The partners at Jasper Vincent Solicitors are delighted to announce the official opening of a new Lyndhurst branch. A jubilant Matthew Robbins, senior partner of the firm, had this to say:

“We are truly excited for the opportunity to expand our offerings to Lyndhurst. Opening in the New Forest seemed the natural next step for the firm to grow, having recently gone from strength to strength in the Waterside area opening our office there in 2022. As a firm, we pride ourselves on our personal approach to legal work; what better way to serve the local community than to open on the High Street and to be at the beating heart of the town”

Julie grew up in Southampton and attended school locally. She got married and had her children and took a break from the law whilst she raised them. Once they were sufficiently settled she returned to the legal work place and save for a brief sojourn to run a pub she has remained there since. Many people will have worked with and / or known Julie over her years of practice and we are sure that they will want to wish her well in her retirement.

Julie is one of a kind, the sort of person everyone hopes to have as a colleague and a friend and we are deeply grateful to have worked with her. We wish her all the very best for the next stage and are sure she will keep in touch.

Congratulations Julie – have a wonderful retirement. 

Jasper Vincent Solicitors - New Lyndhurst Branch Now Open

Jasper Vincent Solicitors offers a wide range of practice areas for clients new and old. We have a busy Conveyancing team who can assist with the buying and selling of property, both residential and commercial. Our Wills and Probate team can advise on a wide range of different matters, including lasting powers of attorney, trusts and tax. We are also able to offer assistance to clients who need help navigating litigious matters, with solicitors able to handle dispute resolution, family and matrimonial issues, as well as contentious probate work.

Partner of the firm, Angela Pelleschi, will be at the forefront of the expansion, assisted by Associate Solicitor in Wills and Probate Edward Kennard and Conveyancing Solicitor Louise Blacker as well as of course our other dedicated staff. Angela had this to say: “It’s a great chance to help local people who have not had access to lawyers so nearby for many years. Staff from each of our departments will be available to assist clients from this great new base and we look forward to being of service”. 

L-R Front row: Michelle Berry, Sheryl Ward, Rebecca Wiltshire, Louise Maidment, Jason Evans, Hafwen Webb

L-R Back row: Suzanne Foster, Ashley Partridge, Gareth Horner, Peter Slade, Tom Bessant, Giles BevanThomas.

Parker Bullen LLP and Kirklands Solicitors LLP join forces to strengthen position across Hampshire

Two leading law firms with offices in Romsey are thrilled to announce their merger, reinforcing both firms’ presence in the legal landscape across the South. As of 1st May 2024, Parker Bullen LLP, a highly respected legal practice who have made a real mark in Romsey since opening in 2021, will merge with Kirklands Solicitors LLP, a wellestablished firm boasting an impeccable reputation with over 40 years in Romsey and Totton.

This merger brings together the collective expertise, experience, and resources of two esteemed firms, creating a synergy that will benefit clients and the community at large due to their commitment to excellence and client-focused values.

The current Kirklands offices in Romsey and Totton will be known as Parker Bullen Incorporating Kirklands from 1st May 2024, with Parker Bullen LLP retaining their current office on The Hundred in Romsey, in addition to their premises in Andover, Salisbury and Witney.

Gareth Horner, Managing Partner at Parker Bullen LLP, spoke of the merger, “As a firm we have grown significantly over the last few years; expanding from two offices at the beginning of 2021 to a firm of six offices and over 100

Hemployees from May. Our history and the reputation we built up in Andover and Salisbury served us well when opening our Romsey office in 2021 and our Witney office in 2022, and this merger with Kirklands will allow us a new exciting avenue into Totton and the wider New Forest area. Having met the Kirklands team on many occasions, we are convinced that their values align keenly with ours in relation to looking after our clients and colleagues to deliver the best legal services we can.”

Peter Slade, Managing Partner for Kirklands Solicitors LLP, commented, “We are excited to embark on this journey with Parker Bullen LLP and unite our strengths to deliver unparalleled legal services to our clients. This merger represents a significant milestone for both firms, and we are confident that together, we will continue to set new benchmarks in the legal industry.”

Parker Bullen Incorporating Kirklands will continue to offer legal services to individuals, families and businesses across the South with the current Partners and staff from Kirklands continuing to practise after the merger.

All change at Scott Bailey LLP

ot on the heels of the news of their new satellite office in Lyndhurst, and significant new additions to the conveyancing team, Scott Bailey are now pleased to announce that Richard Wadsworth and Ben Ironmonger became full Equity Partners of the firm from 1 April 2024.

Since joining the firm in 2019, Ben quickly saw the potential for building a dedicated Company and Commercial Department to build on the business law services already offered by the firm’s litigation and commercial property teams. Since then, the client base has grown consistently, and they are one of the only law firms based within the New Forest to offer dedicated corporate law support. Ben also heads up the firm’s marketing and business development efforts.

Since joining the firm in 2017, Richard Wadsworth has continued to develop his outstanding reputation as an expert Private Client Solicitor, dealing with all aspects of will writing, complex probate and trust administration, and powers of attorney, as well as building Scott Bailey’s sizeable Private Client Department. Whilst his contributions in that regard have been substantial, he has also recently taken on the COLP role.

With their deep understanding of the legal and commercial landscapes, Richard and Ben are both well-equipped to help drive the firm’s growth and elevate its standing both within the New Forest region, and further afield.

These investments not only mark personal milestones for the pair, but also demonstrate a confidence in the bright future of Scott Bailey LLP. There is still a place for local, independent, high street law firms.

Head of Conveyancing, and longstanding Equity Partner James Burford said: “We are fortunate to have so many talented individuals within our team, whose expertise clearly strengthen our capabilities and bolster our commitment to providing exceptional legal services to our valued client base. We continue to evolve, innovate, and deliver outstanding results, with a view to solidifying our position as a leading legal force in the New Forest and across the South Coast region”.

Please join everyone at Scott Bailey in congratulating Ben and Richard on their well-deserved new standings. Exciting times lie ahead! 

L-R Ben Ironmoner & Richard Wadsworth

Mark Osgood joins Trethowans as a Partner to further strengthen dispute resolution offering

Trethowans is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Osgood as a Partner. Mark brings over 25 years of extensive experience in commercial litigation and contentious insolvency to the firm.

In his new role, Mark will be instrumental in supporting the dispute resolution team. His wealth of experience includes advising major UK and international corporates, private companies, insolvency practitioners and individuals, across a broad spectrum of disputes.

Mark has garnered a reputation for his expertise in handling professional negligence claims, successfully representing clients against solicitors, surveyors, architects, accountants, insurance brokers, and other financial sector entities. His deep understanding of insolvency legislation and company law equips him to provide invaluable guidance to companies, individuals, creditors, debtors, lenders, borrowers, and other insolvency stakeholders and professionals on general commercial litigation as well as contested insolvency.

Mark’s reputation is exemplified by his Tier 1 ranking for professional negligence in the prestigious Legal 500 guide. Mark is praised as an expert strategist and the guide highlights his exceptional interpersonal skills, noting that he is “fantastic with colleagues, clients, and opponents alike”.

Trethowans announces Partner level promotion

Trethowans is celebrating the promotion of Linden Talbot to the position of Partner..

Linden Talbot joined Trethowans in 2018 as a property litigator and has been pivotal in growing the firm’s property litigation offering. He has extensive experience in his field and has acted for clients in the Court of Appeal, High Court, County Courts and the Upper and FirstTier Property Tribunals.

Linden said: “I am very pleased to have been promoted to Partner. It has been an exciting time growing the Firm’s property litigation services and we now have four dedicated specialists in the team with expertise ranging from providing advice on landlord and tenant disputes (including renewals, dilapidations and rent reviews) to

In addition to his legal expertise, Mark is also a qualified Business Coach, reflecting his passion for helping business owners and directors develop their business structures and attain their objectives with confidence.

“It’s great to have Mark on board,” said Mike Watson, Managing Partner at Trethowans. “His extensive experience and proven track record in commercial litigation and contentious insolvency will further enhance our capabilities in delivering outstanding legal solutions to our clients.”

Mark’s appointment underscores Trethowans’ strategic growth initiatives and commitment to providing clients with exceptional legal services across a wide range of practice areas. 

working on complex disputes through the property tribunals and the courts. I am grateful to our valued clients and our network of external professionals which includes surveyors, barristers and agents, and I would like to thank them all for their continued support of the team.”

Linden services work across the region, including Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his sector.

Managing Partner Mike Watson said, “We offer our congratulations to Linden on his promotion to Partner. It is very satisfying to develop and promote the talent that we have within the firm, allowing us to continue our growth across the business.” 

L-R Mark Osgood, Mike Watson, Karl Cameron
Linden Talbot

Prioritising Wellbeing in the Legal Profession: A Commitment at Paris Smith

The legal profession is known for its demanding nature, with complex cases, urgent deadlines, and a highly varied workload often meeting simultaneously. In such a high-pressure environment, fostering and promoting staff wellbeing has become increasingly crucial for any organisation that truly values its people. At Paris Smith LLP, we recognise the vital importance of employee wellbeing in our fast-paced legal roles.

The Pressures Faced by Legal Professionals

While many sectors are inherently stressful, legal professionals face unique challenges due to the client-facing nature of their work. Clients can be demanding, or may be acting in response to difficult circumstances of their own. Balancing the needs of clients and the business’s demands can potentially compromise employee wellbeing if not managed effectively.

Moreover, in today’s world, where performance is measured and reported more than ever before, the constant stream of activity and instant messaging across various media platforms can create a sense of needing to be ‘always on’, blurring the lines between work and personal life.

Mental Health at Work: Lessons from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic forced significant changes in how and where we work, leading to a prolonged period of adjustment and uncertainty. Mental health, already a major part of society prior to the pandemic, became even more important during and after the crisis.

At Paris Smith, we recognise that each individual is unique, often at different life stages with varying circumstances that evolve over time. A one-size-fitsall approach to wellbeing will never suffice. Instead, we strive for a tailored, personalised approach to meet the diverse needs of our team members.

A Commitment to Wellbeing at Paris Smith

Inspired by our solicitor Adam Hughes’ original idea, we formed a dedicated Wellbeing Committee run by staff members from across the firm. The committee’s vision is clear: “To help our colleagues find balance in their lives to support their happiness by establishing and maintaining a workplace that encourages positive lifestyle choices through the promotion of wellbeing activities and information materials.”

Under the leadership of Chair William Downer, the committee organises regular activities that promote wellbeing, such as yoga, breathing classes, wreath-making at Christmas, lunchtime walks, funded gym sessions, painting, healthy eating workshops, board game nights, and subsidised visits to wellbeing product shops.

Additionally, we have a dedicated section on our intranet that provides advice and information on various topics, including financial wellbeing, focus and motivation, menopause support, resources for young families, maintaining mental and physical health, and managing stress and anxiety.

Our HR Team’s Commitment

If you are feeling overwhelmed now is not the time to volunteer for extra duties. Learn not to automatically agree to do things you don’t have time to do or you will find yourself promising to turn up to every zoom meeting,

offering to take notes, volunteering to check someone’s emails when they are on leave. Don’t feel the need to explain why you can’t do something or have an excuse – a simple ‘Thanks I can’t this time’ is fine.

Be honest

Our HR team, led by Paula Al-Yousif MCIPD, Charlotte Del Grosso (Assoc. CIPD), and Amy Stickland, has been instrumental in driving our wellbeing initiatives. Our private healthcare package includes specific mental health support lines, and through our Employee Assistance Programme, all colleagues have 24/7 access to a counselling team that provides instant information and advice on issues at home or work.

We also offer specialist support services, such as menopause support, with trained menopause first aiders and peer group sessions to enable colleagues to share experiences related to menopause, young families, or other identified needs. Our private medical scheme membership provides a range of treatments and approaches for those in need, with the crucial ability for members to self-refer without seeing a GP.

Additionally, we have made training available to all managers, covering the signs of mental health issues, raising awareness, signposting resources, responding to crises, making adjustments, and self-care.

Prevention: A Proactive Approach

At Paris Smith, we firmly believe that prevention is better than cure. To this end, we regularly organise firm-wide wellbeing activities, such as sessions on nutrition, peer support groups, sleep hygiene, exercise, and maintaining healthy relationships. We emphasise the importance of taking breaks, restoring calm, ensuring a suitable working environment, taking annual leave, and maintaining clarity of roles and expectations.

We understand that energy must be restored, and that each individual gains energy in different ways. Making time for joyful pursuits is key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Our commitment to wellbeing has been recognised by our winning the Workplace Wellbeing category of the Modern Law Awards 2024. Whilst the award was most welcome, the real win for our business is the amazing and ongoing effort of our Wellbeing Committee and HR team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that Paris Smith nurtures its people. We remain committed to getting better.

Together, we strive to maintain a workplace that prioritises the wellbeing of all our people, enabling them to excel in their demanding roles, for clients and themselves, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

Spotlight on Corporate Firm

Lester Aldridge Announces 15 Promotions Across Firm

Lester Aldridge, a leading law firm with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton, and London, is delighted to announce the promotion of 15 of its talented professionals, effective from 1 May. These promotions reflect the firm’s commitment to nurturing talent and recognising exceptional performance across the firm.

Six solicitors have been promoted to the position of associate:

Rebecca Bright – International Private Client

Gerard Chalkley-Maber - Corporate & Commercial

Neeti Chauhan – Residential Property

Amy Lewis – Real Estate

Alice Straight – Healthcare

Sarah Harris – Real Estate

These individuals have demonstrated outstanding legal acumen, dedication, and a commitment to delivering exceptional service to our clients.

Additionally, nine associates have been promoted to the role of senior associate:

Eloise Butterworth – Compliance

Nicola Highland – Real Estate Finance

Natasha Mallett – Residential Property

Paul Markides – Real Estate

Luke Marshall – International Private Client

Danielle Slater – Corporate & Commercial

Rebecca Stubbs – Property Litigation

Wendy Tsang – Real Estate

Karen Watts – Personal Injury

Their promotion to senior associate recognises their significant contributions to the firm, their leadership qualities, and their ability to provide strategic guidance and support to both colleagues and clients.

Commenting on the promotions, Matthew Barrow, Managing Partner at Lester Aldridge, said: “We are immensely proud to announce these well-deserved promotions. Each of these individuals has shown exceptional skill, dedication, and a commitment to delivering the highest standards of legal service. As they take on their new roles, I have every confidence that they will continue to excel and contribute significantly to the success and growth of our firm.”

In addition to these 15 promotions, the firm recently announced two partner promotions, Sian Rogers and Nicole Ridgwell. These promotions further reinforce Lester Aldridge’s position as a leading law firm dedicated to fostering talent and providing opportunities for professional growth and development. 

Lester Aldridge Expands with Merger of Mackrell.Solicitors


ester Aldridge and Mackrell.Solicitors are delighted to announce that they are to become one firm this year, to be known as Lester Aldridge incorporating Mackrell. Solicitors. The merger will take effect from September 2024 and result in a full-service firm with a combined workforce of over 400, with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton, London and Birmingham.

Commenting on the merger, Matthew Barrow, Managing Partner of Lester Aldridge, stated: “We are excited to welcome Mackrell.Solicitors to the Lester Aldridge family. This merger aligns with our strategy, and brings together two thriving firms who share a common culture of client-centred service, teamwork and innovation.”

Maung Aye, Joint Managing Partner of Mackrell.Solicitors stated: “We are delighted to join forces with Lester Aldridge. We have been impressed with their approach to innovation and client service and this merger will allow us to greatly expand our offering to our clients, both nationally and internationally.”

About Mackrell.Solicitors

Established in 1845, Mackrell.Solicitors is a full-service Central London-based practice that has over 175 years of experience providing high-quality legal services to individuals and businesses based both domestically and overseas. Mackrell. Solicitors is renowned for its global reach (having founded an international network of around 4,500 lawyers worldwide spread across 100 cities, Mackrell International) and its excellence across diverse practice areas, including dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, family and property.

About Lester Aldridge

Lester Aldridge is a full-service law firm with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. The firm is recognised for its legal expertise and commitment to delivering bespoke solutions to clients across various sectors. Lester Aldridge offers a broad range of specialist legal services across numerous practice areas, including corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, real estate, private wealth, personal injury and debt recovery. 

Matthew Barrow

Lester Aldridge Announces Two Partner Promotions

Lester Aldridge, a leading law firm in the South of England, is delighted to announce the promotion of Sian Rogers and Nicole Ridgwell to Partners, effective 1st May 2024.

Sian Rogers, a Senior Associate in the Southampton Real Estate team, joined Lester Aldridge as a paralegal in August 2012,

completing her training contract with the firm before qualifying in March 2016. Sian’s practice encompasses a broad spectrum of commercial property matters, and she is highly regarded for her proficiency in areas including portfolio management, acquisition and investment, secured lending, non-contentious landlord and tenant work, as well as distressed property realisations.

Nicole Ridgwell, a Senior Associate in the Healthcare team since 2021, brings over a decade of expertise in health and social care law. Her practice includes fitness to practice investigations, challenges against regulatory bodies such as CQC and Ofsted, and advice on public law matters. She has represented a diverse range of clients, including nurses, healthcare assistants, private healthcare providers, and NHS Trusts.

Lester Aldridge Celebrates Success as Four Solicitors Qualify into Real Estate Group

Lester Aldridge, a leading South Coast law firm, is delighted to announce the qualification of four solicitors into its award-winning Real Estate Group. Chelsie Little, James Mills, Nicole Critchley and Phil Bourne have successfully completed their training contracts and are now qualified solicitors.

The Lester Aldridge Real Estate Group is renowned for its comprehensive range of services, delivering tailored solutions to clients across various sectors, including commercial, finance and development projects. Phil and James qualify into the Real Estate Finance team, where they will advise lenders on a range of transactional matters. Chelsie and Nicole both join the Commercial Real Estate team, providing support to clients in areas such as commercial property acquisitions and disposals, bridging and secured lending finance, and landlord-tenant transactions.

Chelsie, James, Nicole, and Phil have demonstrated exceptional skill, commitment, and passion throughout their two-year training contracts with the firm, showcasing their potential to excel in the

Commenting on the promotions, Matthew Barrow, Managing Partner at Lester Aldridge, said, “Both Sian and Nicole have consistently demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism, expertise, and client service throughout their careers at Lester Aldridge. Their promotions are a reflection of their hard work, dedication, and contributions to the firm, and we are confident that they will continue to excel in their new roles.”

Sian Rogers and Nicole Ridgwell are both looking forward to taking on their new responsibilities as Partners and further contributing to Lester Aldridge’s continued success and growth 

legal profession. Their qualification into the Real Estate team reflects their hard work and determination, and Lester Aldridge is proud to celebrate this significant milestone in their careers.

Mark Benham, Partner and Head of Real Estate, commented, “We are thrilled to congratulate Chelsie, James, Nicole, and Phil on their qualification into our growing Real Estate Group. Their dedication and expertise will undoubtedly contribute to the continued success and expansion of our firm. We look forward to seeing them thrive as integral members of our team.”

As Lester Aldridge continues to expand its presence and reputation in the real estate sector, the addition of these four talented solicitors reinforces the firm’s commitment to delivering exceptional service and expertise to its clients.

The firm is currently accepting applications for training contracts starting in 2026. 

Sian Rogers and Nicole Ridgwell
L-R Nicole Critchley, Chelsie Little, Phil Bourne and James Mills.

Loan Agreements –a borrower’s perspective

Taking out a new loan or refinancing existing debt can be a challenging process for companies and a stressful time for their directors and shareholders.

Here at Blake Morgan we have extensive experience advising both borrowers and lenders in the UK market, meaning that we’re perfectly placed to understand both sides’ needs and priorities and to help corporate borrowers ensure they get a fair deal which is suitable for their business.

In this article, we look at some key considerations for corporate borrowers and how we can help.

What do you want out of your loan agreement?

Loan agreements can be long and complex documents but they don’t need to be difficult to approach. From the borrower’s perspective, it is key to work out from the start what you want from the agreement and communicate this to your lender with your lawyer’s help.

For example:

• How much do you want to borrow? It’s never efficient to borrow more than you need, but it’s also important to ensure that there is sufficient headroom in your loan agreement to deal with unexpected events and challenges along the way. Discuss with your lender, and your lawyer, how to structure your requirements most efficiently. For example, it may be possible to agree in principle to borrow further amounts beyond your facility limit in future in certain circumstances, which may be more efficient and lower your interest bill.

• What do you want to borrow for? This is obviously linked to the amount required, but it is also an important consideration in its own right, as your lender will want to understand your business plan and your financial needs before committing to lend. Working this out early will speed up the process and lead to a better outcome.

• How do you want your borrowing to be structured? Different borrowing requirements can be matched with different loan agreement structures to deliver the best outcome for borrower and lender. For example, do you need to borrow a fixed amount over a specified period to invest in new premises or assets (a ‘term loan’) or do you need variable levels of funding over time – with the ability to repay and reborrow – for working capital purposes (a ‘revolving credit facility’)? Talk to your lender and your lawyer about how to structure your loan agreement in the way which is most cost effective for you and best fitted to your requirements.

• What flexibility do you need in your business? All loan agreements come with restrictions on what you as a borrower can do in order to protect your lender’s interests. It is crucial to analyse these and discuss any flexibility you know you will need up front with your lender and your lawyer. For example, are you planning to sell some premises or a part of your business? If so, it will be worth discussing this at the time the loan agreement is put in place to ensure your lender is comfortable with the proposal and happy to consent to it.

What are you being asked to promise?

All loan agreements include representations (statements you are required to make about your business periodically), operational covenants (things you must do, or not do, while the loan is outstanding) and financial covenants (financial tests assessing your business’ performance which you must pass periodically while the loan is outstanding).

These requirements are there to protect your lender, but they need to be suitable for your business too, because it’s in everyone’s interests that you can comply with these requirements and so comply with the terms of your loan agreement.

It is therefore very important to analyse these requirements with your lawyer’s help before your loan agreement is put in place and discuss any concerns with your lender. Some examples to consider are:

• Can you make the representations which are being asked of you or do you need to carve anything out and explain why?

o Example: you will be asked to represent that your business is not the subject of any material litigation: if you are in a dispute with anyone, you should discuss this with your lawyer and your lender and may need to amend the loan agreement accordingly.

• Can you comply with the operational requirements in the loan agreement?

o Example: your loan agreement will prevent you from buying assets above a certain value without lender consent, save in certain circumstances. Does this give you the flexibility you need to carry out your investment plans? If not, you should discuss with your lawyer and your lender whether you can amend the loan agreement to cater for this?

• Can you comply with the financial covenants? These provisions in the loan agreement will require you to meet certain financial tests at certain points in the year.

o Example: your loan agreement will require that your business’ earnings exceed its interest bill by a certain proportion throughout the year. Based on your business’ performance and financial projections, do you think you will be able to achieve this, or do you need to discuss adjusting the terms of the test with your lawyer and your lender?

o Example: you will need to be in a position to test the financial covenants at set times and in the manner set out in the loan agreement and report the results to your lender. Is your finance team able to do this or will they need more resources?

How to deal with difficult times

Many businesses find themselves in financial difficulties at some point in their lifecycle. Your loan agreement, if it is correctly structured, should be flexible enough to support you through challenging times up to a point, but if things get really difficult you may need to speak to your lawyer and your lender about amending the agreement to make it less restrictive (including on a temporary basis whilst you try to deal with the headwinds facing your business).

In these circumstances, it is vital that you speak to your lawyer and your lender as early as possible to find a way through which works for you and your business, and which still gives your lender the protections they need. Your lender will want to support you – it is in their interests as well as yours for your business to recover and survive – but to do so they will need time and information to consider the situation carefully.

How Blake Morgan can help you

Loan agreements don’t need to be stressful, but as you will see from the above, there is a lot to consider and it is very important to ensure that the agreement is suitable for you and your business, as well as your lender, from day one, to avoid misunderstandings and costly amendments later on.

The best way to do this is to appoint your lawyer early in the process and work with them throughout to ensure that your loan agreement works the way it should. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Many people who contact LawCare are struggling because they are overwhelmed. They might have agreed to take on additional cases or work late, volunteered to bake cakes for school, juggled numerous social commitments—all while managing their existing workload and home commitments.

People working in the legal sector are often people pleasers – they like to make other people’s lives easier and solve their problems. The problem with saying yes all the time is it sets a precedent. People will think they can ask you again next time, or that you enjoy doing some of the tasks you would rather not. Whilst it is admirable to want to help others and earn respect from our bosses, colleagues, family, and friends, it’s crucial to occasionally say no. Prioritising your own health, energy, and sanity is essential. Lawyers who don’t learn to say no run a very real risk of burning out. What to do if you are feeling overwhelmed

Manage your diary

Have a proper look at your diary. Is it packed? Have you said some half-hearted yes’ to things? Are there things you could cancel? Schedule in personal and work events and block out time to complete various pieces at work so you can see how much time you actually have before you agree to attend another meeting or dinner. Try not to put things in the diary at all if you know you don’t really want to do them, even if they are weeks away. It is unlikely you’ll feel differently nearer the time!

Schedule in down time

It’s important to include and prioritise time for you to rest and relax and just do nothing. Resist the temptation to fill all the gaps in your diary. Sometimes having no plans needs to be your plan – you don’t need to be busy all the time.


Make a list of everything you have to do. Is there anything on the list that someone else could do? Are you holding on to pieces of work that could be given to someone else in the team? If it feels like a chore, could you buy the cakes from the shop rather than bake them if you don’t have time?

Stop volunteering for everything

If you are feeling overwhelmed now is not the time to volunteer for extra duties. Learn not to automatically agree to do things you don’t have time to do or you will find yourself promising to turn up to every zoom meeting, offering to take notes, volunteering to check someone’s emails when they are on leave. Don’t feel the need to explain why you can’t do something or have an excuse – a simple ‘Thanks I can’t this time’ is fine.

Be honest

If you are feeling overwhelmed and cannot do something within a particular timeframe for whatever reason, then let your colleagues know, preferably face to face. Don’t assume they will be angry - you might be surprised at their reaction, and together you can work out a new plan to move forward.

If you need emotional support call LawCare on 0800 279 6888, email support@lawcare.org.uk, or visit www.lawcare.org.uk to get in touch using our live webchat. 

Cyber insurance and the legal profession

Despite businesses’ increasing awareness of the risk posed to their IT infrastructure by fraudsters, it is important to understand just how prevalent cyber fraud is in the UK.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published Cyber Security - A thematic review, which confirmed the beliefs of many cyber specialists that fraudsters specifically target the legal profession.

Why is the legal profession a target?

The National Cyber Security Centre released a “Cyber Threat Report: UK Legal Sector in June 2023” to emphasise the extent to which the legal sector is currently targeted. The report profiles five key incentives cybercriminals have to target firms:

1. They hold highly sensitive client information which is valuable to criminal organisations

2. As business disruption is costly to firms, this can make them a prime target for ransomware gangs aiming to extort money in return for restoration of IT services

3. They handle a significant amount of funds, which often need to be transacted under time pressure creating opportunity for phishing attacks

4. Many firms outsource their IT to external providers, potentially leaving them unaware of the risk they face

5. As firms rely on their reputation, this makes them attractive targets for extortion

Why do only a small percentage of firms buy cyber insurance?

Given the evidence that cybercriminals actively target the profession, you might conclude that cyber insurance is a musthave component of a firm’s planned response to a cyber incident, but this is not the case.

Research published by the Law Society in July 2023 indicated that only 28% of firms purchase cyber insurance.

Perhaps the low uptake is due to a misconception that cyber is covered by Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance, but this is only partly true.

Complacency is another contributing factor. You may think, ‘a cyber-attack will never happen to me’, but what if it does?

In the event of a personal data breach, the clock is ticking. Your firm has just 72 hours to report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), recording what happened, who is involved and what the firm is doing about it.

Cyber insurers provide 24/7 crisis support, mobilising a panel of experts to resolve the IT breach, provide regulatory legal advice and minimise any adverse reputational impact for your firm.

What does cyber insurance cover?

AI is not capable of critical thinking, nor can it make a judgment call on the best course of action for a client. It cannot act according to a client’s values and personal goals, so it cannot alone act in the best interests of the client.

Whereas the SRA’s MTCs provide standardised coverage provisions, cyber insurance conditions – although broadly similar between insurers in offering cover for your first-party losses and crisis support – can vary from scheme to scheme.

Because of the diversity of firms’ operations, cyber insurance policies should be tailored to the specific needs of each firm and include both standardised and supplementary coverage, such as:

• Cyber risk liability: third-party legal liability, defence costs and compensatory damages and, where legally liable to pay, claimant’s costs as a result of a breach of network security or privacy

• Costs and expenses to repair, restore or replace damaged data if damaged by a breach of network security

• Insurance against business interruption, including net profit loss and additional operational expenses

• Legal fees associated with evaluating any regulatory violation and costs relating to contacting any affected persons

• Defence, investigation costs and fines, where they are legally insurable

• Paying extortion demands and expenses incurred to end a cyber threat

These headline coverage examples provide an overview of what the firm can expect from its cyber insurance policy. Still, working with your broker to assess your firm’s specific needs and tailor the insurance policy is essential.

Which insurer should I choose?

In insurance markets where the availability of capacity might be limited, questions commonly posed relate to insurers’ financial standing and claims pay ability. However, there is a wealth of highly rated insurers to choose from.

Although many of our PI insurance partners provide cyber cover, our cyber insurance recommendations are based on the suitability of the insuring conditions and claims response service using a panel of insurers whose products have been extensively researched and validated by us.

The ICO’s number one advice on how to respond to a personal data breach is “don’t panic”, but in the heat of the moment, that’s likely to be easier said than done.

The clock is ticking down 72 hours from when you discover the breach, during which time you must find out what happened, try to contain the breach, assess the risk, act to protect those affected and, if necessary, submit your report to the ICO.

Add to this the potential disruption to your operation, evaluating extortion demands and taking measures to protect the firm’s reputation and the full enormity of the task at hand is all too apparent.

If you purchase cyber insurance, you’ll have the peace of mind that, at the end of the phone, a team of experts is at your disposal, 24 hours a day, to guide you through a challenging time for your firm. 

Arjun Rohilla

The Law Society’s Bicentenary: Celebrating 200 years

About the Bicentenary

In 2025 the Law Society of England and Wales will celebrate its 200th anniversary. This is a huge milestone in our history and an exciting moment to be part of.

Our bicentenary will be about feeling proud of the Law Society and the legal profession and celebrating our diverse community. We want to engage with members more than ever before and we want to demonstrate the impact of the profession on a public platform. Our 200 years will also be a moment to reflect – on where we are now, on how far the profession has come, and where it is headed.

To celebrate this, we are planning a year-long programme of activities and events, showcasing the past, present and future of the Law Society and the legal profession.

The programme has been in the making for the past year and has been developed in tandem with our members, including local law societies and Council members. The bicentenary programme’s guiding thematic principles have been identified with members through the practicing certificate fee member consultation last year.

What the year will look like?

The bicentenary celebrations will start in October 2024, in line with the opening of the new legal year, and run throughout 2025.

The bicentennial programme itself will draw together existing work across the organisation and create new initiatives specifically for the bicentennial year. These include activities such as:

• A digital exhibition showcasing the history of the profession.

• An enhanced Presidential roadshow with special events across England and Wales focusing on local stories championing solicitors and the profession. We will base this tour on a ‘history road map’, highlighting important stories from the past and present.

• Admissions ceremonies with a unique 200-year focus and feel.

• International receptions and webinars engaging the significant member community working outside England and Wales.

• A Gazette special feature

• Creation of an expert art advisory group to help us diversify our current portrait collection and plan how it can better reflect and engage the modern profession.

• Launch of the Reframing Justice report (read about the project and our Year 1 findings) alongside the culmination of our work on ethics and 21st Century Justice.

Alongside our confirmed events, we would also like to open 113 Chancery Lane to the public as part of the much-loved Open House Festival weekend and showcase our heritage and beautiful historic building.

How you can support

We are keen to engage with our members across England and Wales to seek ideas and input for stories we might tell in a history of the profession. For this, we would like to understand the experience of regional law societies, particularly their experiences of celebrating similar milestones, and how they may wish to support the bicentenary programme.

We would be grateful to receive any ideas, be they significant solicitor stories from your region or milestones past and present. All ideas will feed into the research we are undertaking into historic and contemporary stories for the creation of our digital history and history road map.

If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to share information or a story of the profession in your area please contact amy.murat@lawsociety.org.uk ■

Beware of buyerfunded developments

There has been a recent uptake in activity in the courts illustrating difficulties that solicitors may face when involved in buyer-funded developments.

James Robins and Ivan Roots of Womble Bond Dickinson, who are specialists in defending professional negligence claims, look at some recent activity in the courts and advise solicitors to proceed with caution.

Buyer-funded developments

Buyer-funded developments, which rely on individual buyers’ purchase deposits rather than commercial lenders have gained popularity. However, they come with significant risks:

• Deposit Risk: buyers pay substantial upfront deposits to finance the project. If the developer faces financial difficulties, these deposits may be lost.

• Construction delays: construction often begins before full funding is secured. Slow sales can lead to project delays.

• Failed projects: some buyer-funded developments fail due to unforeseen costs, planning permission issues or fraud.

The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA)

The SRA have provided a warning relating to buyer-funded developments on their website. They have observed risky practices, including using law firms for credibility without legal work being done, transferring funds through law firms’ client accounts unrelated to legal matters and generating unnecessary legal fees.

The SRA has made it clear that they expect law firms and solicitors to act with integrity and protect consumers by analysing the risks of any investment scheme in which they are involved. The obligation rests on the law firm to carry out all necessary checks and you should not rely on the word of the seller or other promoters of a scheme.

Recent activity

Recent court activity highlights some challenges as a result of buyer-funded developments:

Class actions: in Ryan Morris & 131 others v Williams & Co [2024] EWCA Civ 376, the Court of Appeal allowed 134 claimants to pursue a law firm collectively. The judge did not accept that in this case it was inconvenient or unfair for the claimants’ claims to be grouped together in one form. The Court found significant common issues in these cases, including the scope of the solicitors’ duties, questions of breach, what losses were recoverable in principle, and whether the investments were unlawful as collective investment schemes.

Consolidation concerns: in Niprose Investments Ltd & 34 others v Vincent Solicitors Ltd [2024] EWHC 801 (Ch), a High Court judge cautioned against consolidating claims against different conveyancers, citing potential abuse of court rules regarding court fees. Here are the key points:

• Background: The case involved ninety-four claimants who collectively sued ten different conveyancing firms. The claimants sought damages for losses resulting from alleged breaches of duty related to a failed property development.

• Court Fees: A single court fee of £10,000 was paid for the larger claim, which exceeded £6 million. However, the judge expressed concern that joining claims against different conveyancers who used varying forms of documentation might stretch the limits of convenience.

• Losses: The claimants had lost substantial up-front payments due to the development’s failure.

• Allegations: The claimants alleged that their respective conveyancers failed to properly advise them on the risks of investing in the development. They sought compensation for their losses.

On a preliminary basis, the claimants have raised valid concerns against the law firms. They argue that the firms had a duty to provide proper advice regarding the deposit-holding mechanism, cautioning against purchase contracts, and ensuring a clear understanding of legal advice. The judge has allowed the claimants to amend their pleadings after adjourning a strike-out application.

Challenges on causation: a High Court judge, in Afan Valley Ltd (in Administration) and Ors v Lupton Fawcett & 2 others [2024] EWHC 909 (KB), dismissed a £68 million negligence claim against a Yorkshire law firm. The claimants, forty-three companies in liquidation, described themselves as “vehicles for, and thereby the victims of a Ponzi fraud”. Although there is no suggestion that the law firm was complicit in the fraud, the claimants alleged that proper advice would have prevented them from promoting investment schemes, accepting funds, and incurring substantial losses. However, the judge held that the claimants failed to prove any loss due to the firm’s alleged negligence.


While we await the outcome of some of the above proceedings, the dangers associated with such schemes are significant. The recent proceedings mentioned above should remind law firms to be wary and to ensure that they are advising their clients carefully.

Law firms involved in these schemes may find themselves in turbulent times, with increased insurance premiums and have their insurers reconsidering their excess structures. Solicitors handling such matters should remain vigilant and proceed with caution. 

Council Members Report June 2024

Since I last wrote, there have been Council meetings in March and May 2024. Key matters discussed included:

1. Size of Council: In my last report I mentioned that there are proposals to reduce the size of Council from its current 97 seats, including the abolition of geographical seats – of which there are 42 constituencies. When I was elected to the Hampshire and IOW seat two years ago, the boundaries had been changed and our area become the South Constituency, incorporating the North Hampshire seat into Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Council members have several concerns about further reduction, including that it would result in a challenge to represent a larger constituency; more work for those who remained; a possible danger of not being able to attract some categories of people, (such as younger people, younger parents, and early-to-mid career solicitors) and not ensuring diversity of representation. If you have any comments, please let me know.

2. Junior Lawyers: Junior Lawyers have several representatives on Council. The representative for 0-6yrs PQE solicitors noted that her cohort want TLS to do more to combat bullying and harassment of junior lawyers. Please let me know if you would like to give any feedback on this and I will pass it on for you.

3. Support for solicitors in the SDT: Council has agreed that TLS is to provide assistance to solicitors appearing before the SDT. Council recognises that justice demands that members appearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal should have access to legal support to ensure equality of arms. To this end, the Council authorises the creation of a special committee of enquiry, serviced by staff, to enquire how equality of representation can be achieved. This committee should consist of six Council members who will take expert evidence from inside and outside The Law Society. Please let me know if you wish to contribute evidence.

4. 21st Century Justice Project: Last year, TLS launched this project with the aim of working in collaboration with members and stakeholders to develop policy to increase access to justice for small businesses and those on low incomes. Valuable comments were received following the issue of a green paper last October, after which further research and analysis is being undertaken. The starting point is that TLS will make a case for one trusted entry point (the “Solutions Explorer”) for those with a legal need and, as part of the project, work with civil legal aid providers to consider how early advice could link in with online

information and guidance. There are sections on legal expense insurance, protection of legal service users from AI, unbundling, increasing the awareness of non-court dispute resolution mechanisms that can help small business, and maximisation of ombudsman schemes to deliver access to justice. The full project report (April 2024) can be read here: Fresh ideas for 21st century justice | The Law Society

TLS survey on Legal Needs has again drawn attention to the rise of unmet legal need. Wider policy has given us the MOJ vision of a digital justice system and the government calling on legal regulators to set out how it will regulate AI

5. Expenses and Allowances: in addition to HMRC allowable expenses can be claimed by Council Members. Until March 2023, they were also offered a small allowance. This covered trivial expenses and did not attempt to equate with any lost earnings. I have been on a Working Party looking at what this payment is really for and whether it – or something else- ought to be reinstated. The Working Party recommendations are to be put to Council at the July meeting.

6. Carey Street: my last report asked for comments on the proposal to sell this property, around the corner from the main Law Society building in Carey Street, which has been used as the President’s residence. It’s need for extensive repair and lack of use were amongst the prompts for this motion. Following lively debate, Council has resolved to keep this asset. Proposals are now being drawn up as to how it might be adapted for enhanced access and use..

7. CILEX regulation: CILEX has consulted its members on its request to be regulated by the SRA. The matter is still due to be brought back to Council to debate in due course. TLS is also keeping in touch with the LSB, the oversight regulator..

The matter will be brought back to Council to debate in due course and once the two bodies have published their responses to their consultations. TLS is also keeping in touch with the LSB, the oversight regulator. ■

Adrienne Edgerley Harris

aedgerleyharris@shentons.co.uk 01962 844544

Adrienne Edgerley Harris

Job Opportunities

Burley Geach Solicitors LLP

Private Client Solicitor Full Time ideally 3 + years PQE

Location: Petersfield

Burley Geach Solicitors LLP is a leading provider of legal services with offices in Hampshire and Surrey with an excellent reputation for delivering legal advice which is tailored to the individual needs of our clients. As a firm we are proud of the fact that we provide a supportive and friendly workplace with an excellent record for staff retention.

Our private client department is now seeking to appoint a further solicitor on a full or part-time basis. The position requires someone who works well independently but will contribute to and learn from being part of a team.

The successful applicant should have ideally 3+ years PQE and be able to deliver a full range of private client services to the firm’s clients including will drafting, probate and estate administration, inheritance tax planning and trusts, lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. Experience of contentious probate is desirable but not essential and STEP membership and/or Association of Lifetime Lawyers would be an advantage but is not essential.

On offer is a competitive package, a varied and interesting caseload and the autonomy to grow and develop that caseload. Where this involves more complex matters further

If you are interested in this position and share our commitment to providing personal, high quality legal services we would love to hear from you. Please send CVs to Nikki Mercer (nicola.mercer@burleygeach.co.uk) or call 01428 656011 for more information. 

Missing Wills

Patricia Ann Thew (aka Cooke)

DOB 12/11/1944

DOD 23/02/2024

Address –

13 Mercury Close, Southampton SO16 8BH

Heppenstalls Solicitors

2 x Private Client Lawyers (Solicitor 0r Legal Executive) 5 + years PQE

Location: Lymington & New Milton, Lymington

We are looking for two Private Client lawyers (Solicitor or Legal Executive), 5 years+ PQE to join the Private Client teams in New Milton Lymington and New Milton.

The roles at each office differ slightly, but the main responsibilities are:

• To take over an existing caseload of Probates and see them to conclusion

• Administration of Trusts, including taxable and non-taxable estates; completing all necessary Tax Returns and registering Trusts if required

• Deeds of Variation

• Inheritance Tax and succession planning; the drafting of Wills and Trust documents

• Preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney

• Support and assistance to junior team members

• Developing relationships and building up client base

• Attending networking events and raising the firm’s profile

We have excellent client bases at both offices and the workload is varied. We are client driven and committed to providing good quality services in the New Forest and surrounding areas.

There are directorship opportunities for the right candidates.

We should love to hear from you: please apply with a CV and covering letter to enquiries@heppenstalls.co.uk 

Jonathan Vincent Thew

DOB – 12/11/1950

DOD – End of February 2024

Address –

13 Mercury Close, Southampton SO16 8BH

King Charles III announced as new Patron of The Solicitors’ Charity

The Solicitors’ Charity Chair, Ginny Cannon (pictured), is delighted to learn that King Charles III will be the Charity's new Royal Patron

The Solicitors’ Charity is delighted to learn that King Charles III will be its new Royal Patron.

Following His Majesty The King’s Accession in September 2022, a major review of more than 1,000 Royal Patronages and charity Presidencies was undertaken. To mark the first anniversary of Their Majesties’ Coronation, the conclusions were shared with The Solicitors’ Charity this week.

Queen Elizabeth II was patron of 492 organisations, while King Charles III was affiliated to 441 and Queen Camilla 100. Following the review, just over 830 have been retained by the king and queen or passed to other members of the royal family.

The Solicitors’ Charity is honoured that His Majesty has accepted the patronage of The Solicitors’ Charity. The late Queen Elizabeth II was the Charity’s previous Royal Patron.

The Solicitors’ Charity has been supporting solicitors since 1858. It provides comprehensive support to improve the wellbeing of solicitors, helping them to overcome life’s challenges.

Chair, Ginny Cannon, said: “We are honoured and thrilled that His Majesty The King is to become our Royal Patron. Royal patronage is a huge endorsement of the vital services we offer to solicitors and the positive impact we make on the lives of the people we help.

We are delighted to welcome His Majesty as Patron of the Charity.”

The patronage was announced by the Royal Household to mark the first anniversary of the Coronation. The Solicitors’ Charity was told that King Charles III was “delighted” to accept the role.

Royal patronage endorses the work of more than 800 charities retained by Their Majesties and Members of The Royal Family, including military organisations, and professional and public service bodies in Britain and the Commonwealth. It allows their achievements and valuable contributions to society to be more widely recognised and promoted.

Find out more about the Charity’s work at: thesolicitorscharity.org 

The Solicitors’ Charity provides comprehensive support to improve the wellbeing of solicitors, helping them to overcome life’s challenges.

People approach the Charity for help for all sorts of reasons - because of struggles with the cost of living and money management, ill health, disability, distress through domestic violence, and anxiety, often caused by work-related stress or lifeconnected trauma.

The Importance of Family Tree Verification: Safeguarding distribution of estates


n France and Germany, probate research and the verification of intestate estates using professional firms is considered vital, on a par with the legal profession. Yet in the UK, we struggle to place probate genealogy firms fairly and squarely within the estate administration process.

The industry is unregulated, which is not necessarily a problem and should not deter solicitors. My firm adheres to voluntary codes and regulatory regimes that can provide reassurance. The public must feel confident that the probate research firm is not operating a scam. Think of those bogus emails where the sender asks for bank account details in return for millions of pounds for instance.

Over-reliance on family testimony

Another issue I see in the UK probate research industry is the reliance by the solicitor, administrator or executor on family testimony, without independent verification. Some solicitors accept the word of family members on who is or isn’t related to the deceased and by what degree of kinship. This can lead to incorrect estate distribution.

I once worked on an intestate estate of around £400k, where the solicitor wanted verification that their client was the sole heir to the estate. The client was an elderly lady who claimed to be her late brother’s sole surviving next of kin.

However, we discovered she’d disowned her nephew many years earlier and didn’t recognise him as part of her family. His ‘crime’ was to grow a beard to his waist and wander around his housing estate shouting and swearing. Once we had identified and located him, we established he had suffered from a mental illness for many years. In this case, half the estate rightly passed to him.

Children Forgotten

I have lost count of the children, siblings and half-siblings who have been overlooked or forgotten by solicitor clients referring cases to us. It’s not deliberate. Families lose touch, large families forget how many relatives they have, children are born out of wedlock and to single parents and, since 1927, adoptive families can legally inherit.

It is an excellent idea for the solicitor to interview their client before engaging a probate research firm, to make sure all relatives are accounted for.

There are four basic fee models available from most professional probate research firms. Freedom of choice is imperative to cover a variety of situations.

The four main options are:

1. contingency fees, where a beneficiary signs a percentagebased agreement with the probate research firm

2. an estate / trust contingency fee, where the executor agrees on a percentage-based fee from a named beneficiary’s entitlement

3. a budget fee paid by the estate

4. a fixed fee paid by the estate.

The basic model

Firms may name these fees differently, but most firms offer this basic model. Contingency fees are the most popular option.

They are seen as fairer in many circumstances--payable only on a successful distribution of an estate. An agreed budget or a fixed fee at the expense of the estate may be more appropriate, depending on the circumstances.

Probate research firms can usually offer budget fees payable by the general estate or contingency fees where the fee is agreed directly with a beneficiary or the executor and expressed as a percentage of the sum they receive.

There are different situations where one fee option may be more appropriate. For example, if there is no grant or no known next of kin to extract a grant, a fee payable by the general estate cannot be used, as there is nobody with legal authority to agree to such a fee.

Fixed fees ‘unfair’

Budget or fixed fees paid by the general estate diminish the whole estate value, which any next of kin who knew the deceased often sees as unfair.

If the probate research firm works to a contingency fee and fails to find any further entitled heirs, it usually receives nothing for its work. Still, the report can secure the vital indemnity insurance policy needed to safeguard the administrator.

There are dangers of being ‘hooked’ into using a firm based on a very low initial quote. Cheap does not necessarily mean better. It is often true that you get what you pay for, and this is not an area where it pays to cut corners.

Importance of insurance

An insurance policy against missing or unknown beneficiary claims is crucial. Sometimes, administrators seem confident they have identified all next of kin and consider taking out insurance cover against any further claims a waste of money. However, there are an increasing number of claims where no traditional documentation, such as birth certificates exists, and DNA evidence is also being used more than ever before.

If there is no formal birth or adoption certificate, a research firm will likely be unable to find ‘undocumented’ claimants. Insurers are unlikely to accept a genealogist’s report as evidence unless you use a recognised firm of probate researchers.

Using a recognised firm will often mean an insurance policy is instantly approved, saving you many hours of time. My preference would be to make insurance a statutory requirement on all £15k-plus estates or where a small estate indemnity is not being used. Things may go wrong, and the important thing is to be covered. 

Law Firm secret shopping, mystery calls, market research –is it worth it?

Secret Shopping. Mystery Calls. Market Research. Whatever you call it, it is one of the most practical ways of evaluating the quality of the client experience to benchmark yourself against the competition and see how you can improve so that you convert more leads.

We do these for clients, contacting their own firms as well as their competition, to evaluate how new calls are handled. The following are depressingly common:

• A member of staff takes the call but obviously doesn’t regard it as their ‘job’ and makes the caller feel as if they are doing them a favour by talking to them

• Receptionists who literally make the caller feel like they can’t pass them on to someone else quickly enough

• Secretaries who have obviously been given a script and concentrate on that so hard, they don’t actually listen to the answers

• Call handlers with zero empathy, even when talking about emotional subjects

• Employees who don’t know the answers to questions so just make it up as they go, giving incorrect advice

• People who just give a fee over the phone, no breakdown or offer of a written quote

• No attempt to set up appointments or offer next steps

To be fair, it’s not really fair! A lot of law firms task members of staff who have no sales training to be the first port of call for prospective clients. And then they wonder why their lead conversion is so low, often blaming it on fees rather than the poor

first contact a prospective client encounters. The sad thing is that it’s so easy to rectify, and a few tips and techniques would empower their staff, as well as improve how calls are handled.

In that first call, a prospective client should feel welcomed, gain confidence that their matter will be handled professionally, learn the benefits of instructing your firm and understand the quote they are being given. That call forms the basis on which they will judge you, so it is essential your first impression is a good one.

And remember that Secret Shopping is not just about gathering data about your own firm, but also a proven method to gauge how their competition is carrying out business. This can help you innovate and devise more effective strategies of your own to differentiate your firm.

Secret shopping enables you to find out how you fare against the competition and gives you a basis on which to become the best. Let us know if you would like us to do some secret shopping so that you can improve your client experience and help convert more leads.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you put the right marketing strategy in place for your law firm, ring us on 0118 380 5980, email us at enquiries@orionlegalmarketing.co.uk or fill in our CONTACT FORM. We’ll be happy to offer you an initial free consultation to discuss your needs and the marketing strategy that would best suit your business. 

The Village Green and how it is just one of the many flaws in “upfront searches”

You may have read recently about the villagers near Bristol who have stopped development by use of the Enclosure Act 1857 to class an area as “Village Green”, the highest level of land protection in the UK.

This is the latest chapter of a long story of such cases. Land is included where residents can prove that an area has been used for either “sports, pastimes and recreation” for at least 20 consecutive years.

Its not all May pole dancing and church fetes, meeting for a “stop and chat” or walking a dog regularly can count so long as many people support it. Landowners can also voluntarily register their land as such.

Sometimes the land being protected may come as a complete surprise. In 2021, a concrete quayside in Essex was the victor in a 13 year legal battle against development as it was claimed to be “village green”.

As a Searches professional, what concerns me, is that the potential buyers of the concrete quay in Essex would have had no idea of the concrete land having the “Rolls Royce of protection” had they proceeded with one of the new idea upfront Searches as seen by many as the way forward for conveyancing.

This huge, deal breaking information would have been totally missing. That is because Commons Registration and Village Greens are questions in a CON29, not in the register only LLC1 part of the full search.

I have heard presentations form these pioneers of modernising and streamlining the conveyancing process where they say how “searches” will be instant and freely updated in upfront

information packs. The inconvenient truth is that they agree with the HM Lad Registry that a search is, very mistakenly, just an LLC1.

The only “searches” available in such a way are register searches only and are both useless and dangerous. Any prospective purchaser relying on them, does so at immense risk. These new reports do not contain full planning histories (not just consents), no building regulations, highways adoption status, local plan allocation, public footpaths and old conservation areas amongst other important matters. Such reports are not to be encouraged and any professional search company should take no part in their production.

Conveyancers beware of such documents, you will be paying twice for your searches. Any purchaser will want the full search not just these half searches, so the seller will have wasted money commissioning one.

In the new dawn being promised, the purchaser of a piece of concrete in Essex will have no warning that it is, actually, a Village Green 

Obituary for John Selwyn Cecil Gurney-Champion

JGurney-Champion was born on the 22nd May 1923 in Taunton, Somerset.

In 1926 the family moved to the Isle of Wight and lived in Claterford Road, Carisbrooke. His father, a qualified Solicitor for many years, purchased the practice of a solicitor called Edwin Parker, who had offices in Newport and Freshwater, Isle of Wight. His father took over both offices and continued under the name of Parker & Gurney-Champion.

John attended Westmont Primary School in Carisbrooke Road and then Ryde School. His parents decided John needed a more religious upbringing and for his final school year he attended Monkton Combe School, near Bath In 1939 at the age of 16 John entered into five years Articles of Clerkship to his father. A month later the 1939-45 War broke out.

In 1940 John went to London to sit the Solicitors’ Intermediate Examination with bombs dropping all around and succeeded in passing this.

In 1942 John was called up and spent 6 years in the Army before being released in 1948. John spent most of his Army service in the Far East (India, Burma and Malaya). Upon passing officer training, John volunteered to serve with the Gurkhas and was posted to the 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles in Burma. Where he was appointed Transport Officer and had under his charge a number of jeeps, trucks and mules.

An article published in the Isle of Wight County Press on 21 June 1947 recounts one particular incident John was involved with: ‘While serving with the 3rd Gurkhas [he] showed such a flair for picking up the local languages that he was selected to command a band of guerillas in the Shan States, who spoke seven different lingoes. Led by him, they recaptured one of the largest hill stations in the Shan States, and for months they rendered valued help to the 14th Army by their raids on enemy communications during the liberation of Burma.’

After the Japanese surrender, John, now promoted to Captain, was involved in the Japanese War Crimes Trials. John was British Advisory Officer to the Japanese defence in Rangoon, Burma. Those convicted could petition the Army Council to review the decision and he assisted in the preparation of these petitions, a number of which were successful, as a result of which John was promoted to Major and given the job of prosecuting officer on a travelling War Crimes Court in Malaya. This was a very interesting experience. John’s biggest trial took 6 weeks with 12 accused and resulted in them all being convicted with 5 sentenced to death by hanging and the rest given terms of imprisonment. John was then aged 23 with only 3 years as an articled clerk behind him!

On 9 January 1948, the Isle of Wight County Press reported that Major John Gurney-Champion was now waiting at Singapore to return home for demobilisation. The authorities offered him promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and the presidency of one of the war crimes courts if he would postpone his demobilisation for six months, but John has declined the offer in order to return home to take his final law examinations.

John duly returned to the UK in 1948 and, after a 6 months course at Gibson & Weldon Law School in Guildford, he took the Solicitors Final and Honours Examinations in March 1949, gaining Second Class Honours and two Law Society prizes. These were the Sheffield Prize for the best candidate in the Final

Examination and the Broderip Prize for the best paper on the subject of real property and conveyancing within all the Honours Examinations for the year 1949. John was also awarded the Ford Prize by the Hampshire Incorporated Law Society, awarded to the best Articled Clerk in the County.

The Law Society excused the remaining years of his articles on the grounds of war service. John was admitted as a solicitor in May 1949 and immediately entered into partnership with his father and Paul Darch under the name of Parker & Gurney-Champion at Quay Street, Newport. John’s father died a month later leaving John as senior partner of the firm.

A Portsmouth office was opened in April 1958 and a Southampton office opened in 1965. In January 1989 John’s son Nicholas Gurney-Champion joined the firm and for many years ran the Portsmouth office.

Professionally, John liked a legal challenge, was a keen advocate for his clients and had a good eye for detail. He was conducting court cases in the County Courts and in the Court of Appeal well into his 80’s. He kept working as a solicitor until his death.

In June 1952 John married Elizabeth Joan Brown, daughter of Arthur Ernest Brown, a farmer, of Merston Manor, Merston, Isle of Wight. The marriage took place at St.Georges Church, Arreton. They initially lived in a charming house in Newport and then in 1955 moved to Standen House, Blackwater Road, Newport where the family was brought up and which remains the family home. John and Elizabeth had six children and at the time of John’s death there are 15 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Elizabeth died in July 2022 aged 96.

John was very active in Island life. He was a founder member of the Newport Round Table and at the time of his death was a member of several ex Tablers Clubs, including Vectis 41 Club and Cowes 41 Club.

John was a keen sailor and was a member of the Island Sailing Club from 1952 to the time of his death. John and his family regularly had sailing holidays in the Lake District and Scotland.

John was a keen walker and for over 20 years he led walks in the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, eventually stepping down at the age of 92. For many years he was a member of the Area Council of the Island branch of the Ramblers Association and sat on the Local Access Forum, a statutory body whose main function is to advise their appointing authority for their area (Isle of Wight Council), as to the improvement of public access to land in that area for the purposes of open-air recreation and enjoyment. John was passionate about the ability for members of the public to have access to footpaths and was frequently seen trying to navigate routes which had become overgrown.

John was also a Trustee and legal advisor of the Isle of Wight Red Squirrel Trust and regularly hosted their meetings at his home and regularly raised funds for the Trust.

John had a great interest in music, particular of opera and church music. He would regularly play music around the house, often very early in the morning and at a high volume, to encourage his children to get out of bed !

John passed away peacefully at the Mountbatten Hospice, Newport, IW on 15th April after a short illness at the age of almost 101. He is survived by his six children, 15 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. ■

ohn Selwyn Cecil

LEAP introduces LawY, providing verified AI generated responses to Legal Questions

LEAP, the legal practice management productivity solution announces the launch of its partnership with LawY, a newly integrated AI legal assistant which is exclusively available to users of LEAP. LawY generates fast, accurate responses to legal questions posed by practitioners.

While generative AI can be extremely intelligent, precision and accuracy are paramount in legal matters. LawY uses AI to answer legal questions from an expanding legal knowledge base, that grows, improves and learns with each verified response. LawY employs a pool of experienced and qualified lawyers who act as verifiers eliminating any risk of error or misinformation. Differing from other AI tools the results produced within LawY include case law and references to support any findings.

“LawY not only reduces the research burden on practitioners, but also ensures that information produced is accurate and reliable and aligns with the rigorous standards upheld by legal practitioners.”

Gareth Walker, CEO, LEAP UK says:

“With LawY, LEAP users get instant answers to their legal questions with the added benefit of having the responses endorsed by genuine legal expertise. It is a powerful productivity tool that hastens legal administration, enabling those firms using our software more time to focus on delivering a top-tier service to their clients.”

Gareth continues,

“In the last year LEAP has invested time and money into developing AI functionality within the software, and the LawY integration is just the beginning of a list of exciting new AI features being made available over the coming months.”

"Boosting LEAP's AI capabilities helps users streamline legal tasks, especially useful for those on fixed fees. This investment frees up a lawyer’s time to focus on building strong client connections, offering better expertise to more clients, and ultimately, making more money."

This unique integration enables legal practitioners to deliver faster, more accurate responses and reduces administration efforts, aiding everyday tasks including:

Conducting legal research

Drafting letters and documents

Creating precedent orders

Preparing court documents

Reviewing case law or legislation

Drafting affidavits

Proof reading

Grammar checking

Summarising information

LawY is available as an integrated module to the LEAP user base immediately.

For more information, please visit: https://www.leap.co.uk/ integrations/lawy/ 

About LEAP

EAP Legal Software has been helping law firms to become more efficient and profitable globally for more than 25 years. LEAP is committed to consistently providing world-class legal practice productivity solutions and has innovation at the heart of its research and development so that users continually have the best possible experience.

Occupying a unique position in the legal software market, LEAP includes legal case management, legal accounting, document assembly, document management and legal publishing assets in one solution. Its software is designed to streamline tasks such as matter management, time recording document management, email management, automated forms, client accounting, billing, reporting and remote working.

For more information, please visit www.leap.co.uk/law

From intake to invoice:

How to extract full value from your legal tech investments

You may manage a legal practice, might be a clientfacing fee-earner, or you may keep the back office running smoothly. Whatever your role in your firm, you’re busy and your time is precious.

Technology has a big role to play in unlocking efficiencies for law firms and there are any number of options on the market. But how can firms maximise the impact these innovations offer?

The best way is to bring together disparate systems onto a single platform, enabling streamlined operations, efficiency gains, and risk reduction. From practice management to conveyancing, due diligence, company formations, legal accounting, and document management, the firms who can access all these tools seamlessly from a single place will give themselves a distinct advantage in productivity.

Imagine having access to a range of products and services in one location, accessible with a single login. This level of integration eliminates the time-consuming task of navigating through multiple applications and managing several suppliers.

The impact? Removing administrative bottlenecks and reclaiming precious fee-earning time.

The Future of Legal Tech

Dye & Durham’s new Unity® Global Platform is a nextgeneration solution that introduces an array of new applications and features—all accessible in a single, userfriendly platform. Think of Unity® Global Platform as your single destination for everything you need to run a thriving legal practice, including:

• Practice & case management including legal accounting and billing

• Client Onboarding with full KYC/AML, Source of Funds, and integrated TA6 property information forms

• Due diligence searches

• Conveyancing workflow & data

• Automated forms, document creation & management

• Calendaring, task management, and time tracking

• And more

All of these essential applications are easily accessible by logging in at dyedurham.co.uk.

Step into the future of legal tech — and make sure you are getting the full return on your technology investment — with Unity® Global Platform.

Visit https://dyedurham.co.uk/unity-global-platform/to learn more or contact our team for an introductory discussion at salesteamuk@dyedurham.com 

Improve your law firm’s productivity with LEAP Essentials

LEAP goes the extra mile to keep your firm constantly updated, ensuring you have the most accurate and timely information at your fingertips. Discover LEAP’s five essential features that will make your firm more productive and profitable:

Draft all documents and letters inside LEAP

Access a library of up-to-date court and government forms

Add your own documents to the library

Save time with Recurring Matter Templates

Unlock automation by entering all matter details in LEAP

Visit our website to find out more: leap.co.uk/content

Access a library of Up-to-date forms Add your own Documents

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