A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Robertsons's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Robertsons is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Chris Barber, Solicitor
ased in Cardiff, Robertsons Solicitors are a local firm that offer
commercial and family legal services to a range of clients
across the UK, primarily in Wales and the west of England.
Founded in 1903, Robertsons have undergone innovative changes in
recent years and are now expanding into the mediation sector. The
firm’s services combine over 100 years of history and experience
with a modern approach that spans family, conveyancing,
personal injury, employment and property law. Solicitor Chris
Barber explains his ambitions for expansion into mediation and
discusses some of the issues currently facing the legal sector.
We are an ambitious firm of solicitors, offering a vast range of legal services. Our
solicitors provide a first-class, tailored service to our clients, which range from large
corporations to individuals making personal claims. The commercial branch of the
business includes property, business crime, debt recovery, employment, litigation
and site development, which accounts for a large portion of our work. Our legal
services for individuals and families include divorce and separation, cohabitation,
cases involving children, childcare law, employment, probate, wills and trusts,
conveyancing, litigation, small claims court and personal injury claims. We are now
looking to complement the legal services that we offer to businesses and individuals
by expanding into the mediation sector following my accreditation as a mediator.
As a longstanding Cardiff-based business, we enjoy being part of the local
community and offering support to charities. We run breakfast mornings that raise
money for local charities and many of our staff members take part in local charity
events. We enhance this by sponsoring the charity category of the annual Cardiff Life
Awards. This award recognises local people who have given back to their community
and it reiterates our desire to show our appreciation for the city that has supported
us for over 100 years. In 2007, we were awarded with The Law Society Lexcel
accreditation of excellence and are proud to be one of the first legal practices in
Cardiff to achieve such an honour.
Expanding our mediation services
Mediation has experienced a rapid growth in popularity within the legal sector over
the past few years and it is an area that we are actively expanding into. Mediation
offers a cost effective and less time-consuming alternative to litigation and removes
the stress and hassle of going to court. The parties involved will communicate with one
another through a mediator in the hope that they reach a solution to the dispute. In
a commercial setting, this can include shareholders or directors in a business dispute,
and when dealing with individuals it can include establishing an agreement over a
contested boundary between two properties. The mediation arm of our business
(Robertsons Mediation) was established in 2018, but its growth has been rapid.
»Solicitor: Chris Barber
»Founded in 1903
»Based in Cardiff
»Services: Firm of solicitors
offering personal and
commercial services
»No. of employees: 55
Robertsons Solicitors
The Centre for Effective Dispute
Resolution conducted an audit in 2018
showing the growth of mediation as
a means of conflict resolution, which
accounted for 12,000 mediation cases
in the UK (up 20 per cent from 2016).
The audit stated that £11.5 billion claims
were mediated in the last year which, in
turn, saved UK businesses £3 billion in
the potential legal fees associated with
a court date. Civil Justice Statistics show
that between January and March 2018
there was also a decrease of four per
cent in claims taken to court.
By increasing our capacity to provide
mediation by an experienced and
accredited mediator, we extend the
professionalism and personal approach
we offer through our other services.
We believe that we can have a sizeable,
positive impact on the legal sector.
Courts have noted the benefits of
the move towards mediation and are
encouraging the trend as a means of
freeing up judges and allowing for more
court cases to be completed earlier. There
are a number of cases in which courts
have granted cost sanctions against
individuals or businesses that refuse to
mediate, when it is clear that they are
wasting time and resources as a result.
Facing challenges
Brexit is one of the seminal issues of
our political era and it has caused
widespread uncertainty within a number
of industry sectors. In the legal sector in
particular Brexit could have an impact
on funding for legal aid, but this will
depend on the overall effect that the
UK’s departure from the EU will have
on the British economy. The impact
Brexit will have on our commercial work
is also unknown and will be largely
dependent on the extent to which UK-
based businesses start to relocate, but
we are monitoring events closely and
looking into the potential benefits of
post-Brexit cross-border litigation.
The changing nature of litigation in the
UK is another factor that could prove
challenging for our business in the future.
Chargeable fees have become far more
strictly regulated, while budgets are
becoming increasingly scrutinised by the
courts. Fees for personal injury claims
are now mostly fixed and this has led to
a trend of conveyor-belt firms, who are
completing as many cases as quickly as
possible in order to remain profitable. This
does not bode well for industry standards
and a trend towards volume over quality
should be acted upon by regulators.
As we move forward, Robertsons
will continue with our process of
modernisation, while tailoring any
changes to the needs of our clients.
Trends in regulation show that firms will
have to become increasingly transparent
with their fee structure, and certain costs
will need to be displayed on their website.
This will lead to clients having the ability
to shop around and it will add a layer of
competition. We are confident we can
use this to our benefit, because we have
a strong reputation built over a number
of years that is backed up through a
high-quality and personalised service.
While regulation will create challenges,
it should also raise standards and allow
the best firms to benefit. We are known
for our service, embodied in our tagline
– service, expertise, community – which
will continue to define our approach
and guide our progress in the future.
Staff members raising
money for charity
We are known
for our service,
embodied in
our tagline –
expertise and

This article was sponsored by Robertsons. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister