News and Events

News and Events

Upcoming Events

CPD Event: Work-Based Learning - Portfolio Guidance and Support

Date: Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Venue: Battens Solicitors Limited, Mansion House, Princes Street, Yeovil BA20 1EP

Look out for more information on this event soon!

To confirm attendance, or for more information, please email us.


Past Events

Christmas Party

The Somerset Branch held its annual Christmas Meal and Quiz evening on Wednesday, 4 December at Castello in Yeovil.

We are delighted to say that it was well attended and food and service were very good.

The quiz was enjoyed by all, with Robert Coppard and Sally Lowe as the winners!

It was lovely to see some new faces at the event, and a massive thank you to Lisa Payne and Izzy Day, who undertook organising the event on behalf of the Committee.

Somerset Xmas (1)


Somerset CILEx Ball

On 19 October 2019, the Branch held the Branch Ball. The setting was the Manor Hotel in Yeovil. The Branch was honoured in having the President of CILEx Matthew Foster, Vice President Craig Tickner and Elizabeth Johnson, the first female Chartered Legal Executive Judge, attending. We also had representatives from adjoining Branches.

In addition there were representatives from Somerset MIND, the charity chosen to benefit from the Ball.

The evening was a great success and was the culmination of hard work in organising the event, both by the Branch Committee, and in particular by Gayle Defries.

We had 10 tables, all sponsored by law firms or companies, and all attendees were provided with goody bags from the sponsors.

After the formal welcome, the attendees enjoyed a meal, followed by speeches from the President, Elizabeth and myself as Branch Chair. In addition, there was a special award presented to the Branch Secretary, Gerald Creech, to celebrate the fact that he has served the Branch for an extraordinary 50 years. Gerald joined the Branch in 1969, the Committee in 1970 and has been Secretary since 1971!

Before the entertainment and chance for the attendees to show their dance moves, the raffle was called. There was a wonderful selection of prizes donated, including a Mulberry briefcase. The highlight, however, was the President winning a wash, cut and blow dry!

The evening raised a magnificent £2,672.35 for MIND. This was quite beyond the expectation of the Committee.

I would like to add my personal thanks to the Committee, Gayle, the sponsors and donors of the raffle prizes, in making the Ball the great success that it was.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Committee to wish all the Members a very Happy Christmas and all good wishes for 2020.

Somerset Ball (1)


Networking Event

On Wednesday, 19 June 2019, the Branch held a Networking Event at Yeovil College University Centre. The event provided:

  • Update news from the Somerset CILEx Branch by Jacqui Swann, Chartered Legal Executive, Property Dispute Resolution at Battens Solicitors;
  • Craig Ticker, Partner at Aidan Woods & Co Solicitors, a criminal lawyer (FCILEx) and Board Member at CILEx;
  • Various presentations on topical themes from a variety of speakers talking about the world of law;
  • 'Bringing the World of Law to the Classroom' providing an insight on working as a lecturer by Victoria Knight, Solicitor, Clinical Negligence at Battens Solicitors;
  • The opportunity to register your interest on forthcoming courses at Yeovil College University Centre;
  • Networking with fellow colleagues.
Thank you to all those who attended and to Yeovil College.

Somerset Networking Event


Somerset Branch on Tour

On 17 June 2019, members (and some prospective members!) of the Somerset Branch of CILEx took to the road, in a hired minibus, for their annual educational trip. This year, by popular demand, it was a return visit to London for a guided tour of the Palace of Westminster (more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament). The guide for the tour was Jack Davies, Senior Parliamentary Adviser to Rebecca Pow, the MP for Taunton.

The Somerset Branch contingent met Jack at Portcullis House, which provides offices for Members of Parliament and their staff. He led the group through underground tunnels, direct into the Houses of Parliament to begin the tour; thus neatly avoiding the lengthy queues!

The tour focussed mainly on Parliamentary procedures and the progress of business, including statutory bills and instruments. Jack showed us how the voting lobbies worked, explained about 'pairing', and also gave some fascinating vignettes of history; such as when the suffragette, Emily Davison, broke into and hid herself overnight in a broom cupboard so she could complete the 1911 census with the Houses of Parliament as her address. That cupboard is always kept locked in her memory.

We were also privileged to visit the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft which, like Westminster Hall, is one of the few parts of the ancient Palace of Westminster which survived the fire in 1834. The 'crypt' chapel is truly beautiful and is a Royal Peculiar chapel, which means it comes under the Queen's control and not that of a bishop.

It was a very interesting tour which ended - after a brief lunch and shop - with Jack getting us straight into the Public Gallery to watch some live Parliamentary debate on the floor of the house, including some questions asked by local MPs.

Many thanks to Jack Davies and Rebecca Pow for arranging the tour, and especially to Jack for being so welcoming and making the tour fun. Finally, thanks to our intrepid CILEx driver, Rachel Oaten, who got us safely up and back and even managed to park right by Parliament Square.


CPD Event: Residential and Commercial Property Purchases, presented by Groundsure and Conveyancing Data Services

On Tuesday, 9 April 2019, the Somerset Branch held a free CPD event, kindly presented by Groundsure and Conveyancing Data Services and kindly hosted at Battens Solicitors Limited in Yeovil. The event targeted residential and commercial property lawyers and helped attendees to gain a better understanding of the reports required for both residential and commercial property purchases.

The Somerset CILEx Branch is delighted to invite all to our latest CPD event! This is a must for all residential and commercial property lawyers and will help you to gain a better understanding of the reports required for both residential and commercial property purchases.


Annual General Meeting

On 11 February 2019, the Somerset Branch held its Annual General Meeting at the offices of Porter Dodson in Yeovil; many thanks to Porter Dodson and its continued support of our Branch.

The meeting included a light buffet, and was attended by Craig Tickner, Deputy Vice President of CILEx. Craig updated us on a number of issues, including the CILEx Regulation consultation on qualification.

The CILEx Awards and the plan for the Branch for 2019 was discussed, and the year ahead looks very bright. All in all, another successful AGM, with great support from our members.

Somerset AGM

Christmas Supper

On Wednesday, 5 December, the Somerset Branch held a Christmas Supper event at the Rose and Crown in South Petherton. It was a fantastic night of quizzes, games and great food!

Christmas Supper (6)Christmas Supper (3)

Giving it All to the Cat's Home

The Somerset Branch of CILEx hosted a well-attended CPD event on Tuesday, 23 October 2018 entitled "Giving it All to the Cat's Home". As the title suggests, the presentation given by Peter Livingstone, a Director and Solicitor at Battens Solicitors Limited, focused on large bequeaths to charity and how they are litigated.

The presentation was very informative and looked at the issues such as the stages to consider when looking to challenge a Will, who and how the costs are paid when it comes to challenging or defending a claim, the evidence required by the challenging party and how negotiations are carried out between the parties.

Louise Levene of Finders International also provided a presentation on the services which it provides; in particular, how to realise overseas assets. I am sure that all those attending who have dealt with such matters in the past are fully aware of how time consuming and frustrating it can be to gather in overseas stock, shares and estate property. No doubt Louise and Finders International will be called upon next time it is necessary for private client lawyers to deal with overseas estates.

Somerset CILEx are extremely grateful to both Peter and Louise, who gave up their time to present to our members. A special thank you also to our sponsors Battens Solicitors Limited, for allowing us to use their premises for our event and for providing tea, coffee and biscuits.

Peter Livingstone - 2


Annual General Meeting

Thank you to those that were able to attend the AGM on 12 February. We had good attendance including Millicent Grant (President) and Craig Tickner (Council and Bristol Branch Member). Thank you to Robert and Debbie for laying on the venue and catering.


The officers were re-elected as follows:

Chairman - Robert Coppard

Vice Chairman - Lynda Creek

Secretary - Gerald Creech

Treasurer - Robert Coppard

Communications Officer - Rachel Oaten


All committee members will continue to serve another year and we welcome back Gayle Defries to the Committee.

Please renew your membership to the Branch.  It costs £10 per annum and offers the following benefits:

  • CPD Events (at a discounted price)
  • Social Evenings and Events
  • Networking and meeting fellow CILEx members
  • Job Vacancies
  • Work Based Learning help and guidance
  • Mentoring and Cilex Course Guidance

 **Watch this space** for an exciting 2019 event for the Branch!

 Membership can be renewed by completing the Return Slip sent in the AGM papers, or by emailing somersetcilex@outlook.com. Funds can be given to Robert Coppard at Porter Dodson Yeovil or sent to Gerald Creech at Milford & Dormor Ilminster. Funds can also be sent directly to the branch Bank Account at Lloyds (details are on the Return Slip) but please email to advise the funds have been sent.

Please contact us with any membership queries.  Thank you for your continued support of the Somerset CILEx Branch. 


Curry and Quiz Evening

The branch recently hosted a 'Curry and Quiz' evening at Rajppor Curry House.  A fantastic night was has by all and we would like to thank Sally Lowe from Milford Dormor Solicitors in Ilminster for hosting the evening. 

The top three teams in the quiz were very close:-

  1. First place went to 'The Old Pooles' - Clare, Angela, Fiona and Rachel from Broomhead & Saul, Humphries Kirk and Kitson & Trotman.
  2. Second place went to 'The Consultants' - Gerald Creech and Robert Coppard from Milford Dormer and Porter Dodson.
  3. Third place went to 'Just the Two of Us' - Alison and David from Risdon Hosegood.

It was great to see some new faces from Porter Dodson too!  A few pictures from the evening are below.

CILEx Somerset Branch

Christmas Social Supper

Somerset CILEx Branch were very honoured to have Martin Callan in attendance at their Annual Christmas Supper. Amongst the guests were previous President David March (1992) and previous Somerset Chairmen Nick Hansford and Peter Watkin. A particularly enjoyable evening with a Special Retirement Presentation to Mr Nicholas J Hansford of Porter Dodson Solicitors in Yeovil. 

Nick joined Porter Dodson Solicitors as a trainee Legal Executive on 15th June 1970 with a starting salary of £5 per week. He enrolled for his Legal Executive course at the Taunton College and had competed all of his exams by the age of 21. In those days you could not qualify as a Fellow until you attained the age of 25, so he had a 4 year wait. 

Nick's career has spanned 46 years in the private client department and he joined the Somerset Branch as a student member in the summer of 1970.  He became a fellow in 1979 and was Somerset Branch Chairman from 1983 - 1985 and 1993 - 1994. 

A presentation of a Cilex engraved Cross Pen and a bottle of Champagne was made by President Martin Callan. Fond memories of Nick were shared with the branch by David March and Ray Edwards

Somerset Branch Supreme Court Visit

On the 14th October members of Somerset CILEx Branch visited the Supreme Court in London as one of their occasional educational visits, and enjoyed the official tour which gave access to some parts not normally open to the public; such as the glorious and well stocked library.  

The tour guide explained the previous history of the building which was built in 1913, in an art deco gothic style, and was the old Middlesex Guildhall - home of Middlesex County Council and quarter sessions courts. During the World War 2 it had been used for foreign military courts and in the 1980s, with the loss of Middlesex as a county, it became a Crown Court centre with 7 busy courts. Considerable work was needed to transformation the building from a criminal court centre into one that was functional and welcoming for the work that the Supreme Court would be doing.  It was clear that the architect had managed to retain some key features whilst incorporating a modern slant to some elements – in particular some striking legal maxims set in decorative glass and wooden panels.

The guide explained that the Supreme Court had come into being by Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 to address concerns about the need for a greater separation of powers between the legislative and judicial parts of the House of Lords.  It started work on 1 October 2009. and is the supreme court in all matters under English and Welsh lawNorthern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and the highest appellate court in the United Kingdom, although the High Court of Justiciary remains the court of last resort for criminal law in Scotland. The Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to resolve disputes relating to devolution in the United Kingdom and concerning the legal powers of the three devolved governments (in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) or laws made by the devolved legislatures.

The guide outlined the procedures used to bring these cases before the court, how the justices were appointed and outlined some famous cases to help illustrate the point being made.  

The tour also covered the work of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council who are also housed in this building and deal with appeals from many Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom’s overseas territories, crown dependencies, and military sovereign base areas.  When sitting it becomes a court of that country etc rather than a UK court.  It also hears very occasional appeals from a number of ancient and ecclesiastical courts.

The tour was both fascinating from a legal perspective but also from an architectural and artistic perspective and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the Branch members who attended.