Watkins & Gunn Limited > Pontypool, Wales > Firm Profile

Watkins & Gunn Limited

Private client > Family Tier 2

Demonstrating 'dedication and tremendous hard work for their clients', which includes high-net-worth individuals at one end of the spectrum and the most vulnerable in society at the other, Watkins & Gunn Limited is 'hugely respected' across south east Wales for its expertise in ancillary relief matters and public children cases. 'Approachable' team head Sophie Hughes  'provides practical and sensible advice' and is noted for her collaborative approach to handling matters, which often involve highly complex financial arrangements. Kate Roberts leads the firm's specialised childcare team and 'consistently impresses with her sensible and grounded advice', as well as her ability 'get through to clients and help them to understand the issues in their sensitive cases'.

Practice head(s):

Sophie Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Kate Roberts; Leah Rhydderch; Natalie Corten


‘The team always demonstrates dedication and tremendous hard work for its clients. They have a busy practice but always manage to balance the demands on them from their clients and counsel. ’

‘The approachable Sophie Hughes provides practical and sensible advice.’

‘Sophie Hughes is a class act and her expertise second to none.’

‘The team is a class act and one of the only teams in the region committed to non court-based outcomes.’

‘Kate Roberts consistently impresses with sensible and grounded advice. Her ability to get through to clients and help them to understand the issues in their sensitive cases is very impressive.’

‘Natalie Corten’s work is always well prepared and in order which makes it as easy as possible to take over a case for a hearing, even at a late stage.’

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; claimant

With lawyers based out of the firm's Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool offices, Watkins & Gunn Limited has 'a long-established presence in south east Wales and a good reputation for representing local clients' across a range of personal injury and clinical negligence matters. 'Vastly experienced' Pontypool-based partner Clive Thomas has a 'knack for spotting and running cases successfully that others may not take on' and heads up the personal injury offering at the firm that regularly handles high-value catastrophic cases for private clients, as well as employers' liability matters for key union clients. Jonathan Wellington  has a 'good relationship with his clients and is alive to all of the salient issues in a case' across both clinical negligence matters, as well as on multi-track personal injury cases involving medical issues.

Practice head(s):

Clive Thomas (Personal Injury head); Jonathan Wellington (Clinical Negligence head)

Other key lawyers:

Michael Imperato; Lisa Guscott; Lyndsey Gordon-Webb


‘Watkins & Gunn has a long-established presence in south east Wales and a good reputation for representing local clients in and around Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool.’

Clive Thomas has a vast amount of experience and a very good manner with clients. He always prepares his cases well and covers all bases. He is good and negotiating with defendants and also has a knack for spotting and running cases successfully that others may not take on.’

‘Jonathan Wellington represents clients in clinical negligence claims and multi-track cases. Jonathan has a good relationship with his clients and is alive to all of the salient issues in a case which is invariably well-prepared.’

Key clients

Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Community Union

Work highlights

  • Advising a client bringing a public liability case following an injury suffered as a result of falling on a slippery decking outside a bar/restaurant in Cardiff.
  • Acting in a fatal personal injury when a young man was killed in a road traffic accident whilst on a trip to Southern Ireland, leaving behind a young family.
  • Acting for Community union members who suffered significant psychiatric injuries arising out of the Port Talbot steelworks explosion in April 2019.

Wales > Public sector Tier 3

Led by 'strategic thinkerMichael Imperato, the 'excellent, courteous and efficient' public law team at Watkins & Gunn Limited has established a market-leading claimant-side practice, which 'not only looks to serve their clients individually but also how to support organisations in making change happen'. Imperato is 'very knowledgeable about judicial review', and alongside associate Lucy O’Brien has 'a wealth of knowledge of Welsh public law in relation to challenges to the decisions of public authorities in Wales'.

Practice head(s):

 Michael Imperato  

Other key lawyers:

Lucy O’Brien


‘Watkins & Gunn has a highly motivated team of dedicated staff offering a first-class service.’

‘The firm not only looks to serve their clients individually but also how to support organisations in making change happen.’

‘Michael Imperato stands out as a public law solicitor in Wales and is a strategic thinker.’

‘Michael Imperato is very knowledgeable about judicial review, and was able to quickly identify the arguments which were relevant in law to achieve success.’

‘Michael Imperato and Lucy O’Brien have a wealth of knowledge of Welsh public law in relation to challenges to the decisions of public authorities in Wales.’

Key clients

Haemophilia Wales

Haemophilia Northern Ireland

Coleg Elidyr

Travelling Ahead – Gypsy Roma & Traveller Advice & Advocacy Service

Work highlights

  • Acting for campaigners aiming to save five libraries in Croydon from closure.
  • Acting for campaigners in a judicial review action to attempt to save several secondary schools, Welsh speaking primary schools and 6th forms in the Rhondda Cynon Taff  area. This case raised issues about the Welsh language and statutory interpretation; it has been called the most important legal challenge post devolution.
  • Acting in several Welsh traveller cases involving planning and Human Rights.

Employment > Employment: Recommended Firms Tier 6

Headed by Lisa GuscottWatkins & Gunn Limited is particularly well-versed in relation to handling trade union-related employment matters, including as it relates to industrial action.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Guscott

Watkins & Gunn is a forward-thinking, innovative law firm, and a specialist provider of high-quality legal services in Wales and the UK.

The firm: Watkins & Gunn Solicitors is a five partner law firm, with offices: in Cardiff,  Newport and Pontypool  providing a full range of legal services. The roots of the firm go back over 140 years. They gained Lexcel accreditation in 2006 and in 2009 won the Lexcel Award for Excellence in Practice Management at the Law Society Excellence Awards and were a Highly Commended for Excellence in Technology in 2016. They are a multi award winning law firm, most recently winning the Family Law Team of the Year and Private Client Team of the Year  at the Wales Legal Awards 2019.

The firm holds six Law Society Quality Marks (in personal injury, family law, children law, criminal law, wills and inheritance, and conveyancing). It is well known for personal injury law, acting for two trade unions. It also has a niche practice in public/administrative law, for which it has gained a national reputation, and is one of the leading Welsh divorce and family law firms. They are one of the firms authorised to act in the Infected Blood Inquiry, representing Hemophilia Wales and Hemophilia Northern Ireland

Types of work undertaken
Personal injury:  Their specialist personal injury lawyers deal with many different types of accident claim, most commonly accidents at work, road traffic accidents and slipping/tripping accidents. The firm offers a fast, high-quality service and has a success rate of over 90%. The firm’s lawyers are Members of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Divorce and family matters:  The family law team advise on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, unmarried couples, separation agreements, financial settlements, residence/contact arrangements for children, change of name deed and living together agreements. The firm’s lawyers are accredited by Resolution and are members of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. They won the Family Law Team of the Year  at the Wales Legal Awards 2019

Childcare law:  The childcare team offers sound advice and support with sensitivity and professionalism throughout the care proceedings process. It also acts on behalf of children through court-appointed guardians. The firm can also put clients in touch with other organisations and professionals to help in their dealings with social services.

Private client:  The specialist private client lawyers provide advice on a wide range of matters from wills and probate, lifetime trust and tax planning through to lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection proceedings. They were awarded the Private Client Team of the Year  at the Wales Legal Awards 2019.

Employment: the specialist team assists in unfair dismissal; redundancy; tribunal hearings; settlement agreements; contracts of employment; general employment advice; strike action; bullying or harassment at work; grievance and disciplinary procedures; unlawful deductions from salary; discrimination; executive severances; family-friendly rights at work; and recruitment.

Property (residential and commercial):  The property team specialises in residential and commercial conveyancing across England and Wales. It has embraced the latest technology to provide a fast, efficient and effective premier service that delivers the highest standard of client care.

Clinical negligence: The firm has expertise in claims including pregnancy issues and maternal or infant birth injuries; surgical claims including general surgery, gynaecological, neuro and cardio thoracic; anaesthetic-related problems; cosmetic surgery; and ophthalmic and laser eye surgery errors.

Public/administrative law:  The firm has extensive experience of challenging the unlawful actions of public bodies through judicial review in the High Court. Its cases often involve human rights law and include challenges to: hospital, school reorganisation and library closures; and the granting of planning permission in environmental matters. They are one of the leading firms representing victims of the  contaminated blood scandal at the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Criminal law:  They advise and assist on all aspects of criminal law, motoring offences and road traffic law and represent clients at the Magistrates Court and Crown Court.

Other offices: Cardiff, Newport & London (by appointment).

Managing partner and Head of PI Clive Thomascthomas@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01495 762244
PI Clive Thomascthomas@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01495 762244
Clinical Negligence Jonathan Wellingtonjwellington@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01633 262122
Family Law Sophie Hughesshughes@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01633 262122
Private client (wills and probate) Linda Dackldack@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01495 762244
Crime Jonathan Wellingtonjwellington@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01633 262122
Public and Administrative law Michael Imperatomimperato@watkinsandgunn.co.uk02921 154313
Property Joanne Whiteheadjwhitehead@watkinsandgunn.co.uk02921 154313
Childcare law Kate Robertskroberts@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01495 762244
Employment Law Lisa Guscottlguscott@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01495 762244
Family Law Leah Rhydderchlrhydderch@watkinsandgunn.co.uk01633 262122
Linda  photo Linda Associate
Ms Kate  photo Ms Kate Associate
Clive Thomas  photo Clive Thomas Clive is managing partner of the firm and head of the personal…
Number of UK partners : 5
Number of other UK fee-earners : 19