Barcan+Kirby LLP > Bristol, England > Firm Profile

Barcan+Kirby LLP
BS15 8LJ

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; claimant

Barcan+Kirby LLP is well-regarded for its work representing claimants in clinical negligence and personal injury disputes. The firm’s clinical negligence practice, under the leadership of Richard Harries, is engaged for a range of complex claims involving errors in surgery, delayed diagnoses and birth injuries. Harries is particularly focused on birth injury cases as well as matters involving cancer. Claire Hurrell is recognised for her work in obstetric-related claims, while Helen Franklin was promoted to partner in April 2022 and has a focus on cases involving amputations. Senior associate Jayshree Nathwani is another experienced figure in the team and has previously acted as a professional deputy for clients who lack capacity. On the personal injury front, Samantha Castle and highly experienced senior associate Myfanwy Buckeridge are the key names to note. The practice focuses on incidents at work and road traffic accidents, with a particular focus on representing cyclists who have suffered injuries. Claims handled by the team range from soft tissue injuries and fractures through to life-changing head injuries.

Practice head(s):

Richard Harries

Other key lawyers:


‘A highly specialist clinical negligence firm with lawyers who really care about their clients and know how best to achieve the best for them.’

‘I felt the team were sensitive to my bad experience, very clear, informative and thorough. This was invaluable since I had no previous experience of a clinical negligence claim. I felt in safe hands and believe the team extremely skilled and professional.’

‘This is a very well established firm with a long history of effective and professional legal services. I have worked with them for the last 32 years and they have embraced both the developments in technology and legal changes during that time.’

‘I recently recommended Barcan + Kirby’s clinical negligence team to a friend. If I were in the unfortunate position of having suffered potential clinical negligence they are the firm I would choose to instruct. I consider them to be the leading clinical negligence firm in Bristol. I have worked them over several years and my experience is that cases are handled with empathy, efficiency and expertise.’

‘Richard Harries is an excellent clinical negligence practitioner. He is intelligent, considered, thorough, personable and empathetic. Myfanwy Buckeridge is an outstanding personal injury solicitor. She is highly experienced and knowledgeable. She has a very good manner and handles cases superbly. Jay Nathwani is a pleasure to work with. She is capable and diligent.’

‘I work mostly with Claire Hurrell and senior associates Jay Nathwani and Fiona Dabell. Their clear understanding of the medical matters means that cases proceed without repeated requests for clarification, which happens with some firms. I see them in conference with claimants and their families and they are sensitive, empathetic but also clear in their explanations, managing the expectations skillfully.’

‘Richard Harries is one of the best in the business. I have worked closely with Charlotte Tracey and have found her to be intelligent, hard working and remarkably experienced.’

‘Senior associate Myfanwy Buckeridge is outstandingly thorough, calm and astute. Her part-time role as a coroner gives her an excellent ‘feel’ for what will work or otherwise in applications.’

Work highlights

    Private client > Family Tier 3

    The practice at Barcan+Kirby LLP is headed by Hanni Pennelegion, Kirsten Hale, Tom Powles and Kim Joseph. Pennelegion is overall family head, Hale leads the divorce and separation finances team, Powles is children head, and Joseph specialises in representing children and parents subject to public law applications. Sarah Marshall is noted for her expertise in divorce, cohabitation disputes and pre-nuptial agreements. The team is also praised for its approach with clients who suffer with mental health difficulties.

    Practice head(s):

    Hanni Pennelegion; Kirsten Hale; Tom Powles; Kim Joseph

    Other key lawyers:

    Chris Miller; Anna Wilson; Clare Cox; Gareth Hughes; Georgia Holmes; Sarah Marshall; Charmaine Moger


    ‘Exceptional case management; they take time to understand complex cases; exceptional collaboration with counsel to produce well focused strong position statements to help reach desired outcome’

    ‘The team care about their clients and are always willing to go the extra mile.’

    ‘Barcan & Kirby demonstrate particular uniqueness in the way they deal with clients especially their approach to the the provision of personal and pastoral care and support alongside legal advice. Their approach with clients who suffer with mental health difficulties is exceptional.’

    ‘Kirsten Hale has a great mind for understanding financial issues and applies her depth of knowledge with honesty and empathy.’

    ‘Extremely experienced group with a clear, team wide ethos to help their clients. Clients are given clear and realistic advice, and supported throughout the court process to ensure they have the best possible representation.’

    ‘Tom Powles – a very conscientious lawyer, who always gives 100% for the benefit of his clients’

    ‘A well-resourced family team with experience and expertise. Very strong customer focus and a culture that puts the client front and centre.’

    ‘Sarah Marshall and Hanni Pennelegion are the standouts both very experienced, efficient and excellent with clients. They are no-nonsense, business-like types.’

    Work highlights

      Barcan+Kirby is one of the largest mid-sized law firms in Bristol, with a long-established reputation for providing legal advice to individuals and businesses across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. In addition, the medical negligence and personal injury departments act for clients on a national basis. Formed in April 2015 via the merger of Barcan Woodward and Kirby Sheppard, the firm now employs in excess of 180 people and has strengthened and broadened its depth of services to include the Corporate Services Division.

      The partners are advocates for flexible working and proud of the high percentage of women in senior or managerial positions in comparison to other law firms. This was reflected in Barcan+Kirby winning both the Business Award for Gender at the Bristol Diversity Awards 2019 and Legal award at the Bristol Life Awards 2019.

      Barcan+Kirby is committed to the development of staff and provides comprehensive and supportive training. Their Associates Academy was established to support ambitious staff to develop the skills required to become leaders of the business. In addition, they have invested in new premises on North Street, Bedminster and Gloucester Road, Bishopston with an extension to the Thornbury office to provide a better working environment for staff.

      The firm’s core values drive their culture. They combine a fresh, modern approach with traditional values. Their vision is to build on reputation for excellence, strive to build long- term relationships with clients, and retain their position as a major force in the South West legal sector.

      Their HR team won the National People in Law Awards HR Team of the Year 2020 in recognition of their communication skills and HR initiatives, being described as ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ to the larger city firms.

      Principal areas of work: The clinical negligence and personal injury departments are recognised both regionally and nationally for the quality of their work and the support they provide to claimants. The clinical negligence team has a wealth of experience across a range of injury types, including cerebral palsy, delayed or misdiagnosis, maximum severity birth injuries, amputations and fatal injuries. The personal injury team has particular experience in dealing with catastrophic injury cases, including claims arising from brain, back and spinal injuries, as well as road traffic accidents.

      The family department is one of the largest in Bristol and has expertise spanning separation and divorce, matrimonial finances, child arrangements, care proceedings, domestic abuse and child abduction. Every member of the dedicated matrimonial finance team is a Resolution-accredited specialist and most solicitors across the department hold at least one Law Society panel membership. The team recently developed its own Domestic Abuse Department (DAD), with the head, Georgia Holmes, winning Highly Commended for Lawyer of the Year for her work in this area at the Modern Law Awards 2020.

      The wills, trust and probate team provide comprehensive wills, estate planning and probate services to clients across the South West. Their strong reputation for providing exceptional service is demonstrated by the fact that over 70% of business comes via referrals from existing clients. Many of the team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) or Solicitors for the Elderly, and several hold the STEP Advanced Certificate in advising vulnerable clients. In 2019, the team won Solicitor Firm of the Year (South) at The British Wills and Probate Awards. The department have recently adapted their will writing process to accommodate the needs of those wanting to make a will during lockdown, including the launch of their online wills service.

      The highly experienced residential conveyancing department are specialists in all aspects of the buying and selling process. As well as dealing with straightforward domestic property transactions, they provide advice on re-mortgaging, buy-to-let investments, leasehold flats, new builds and shared ownership homes. Much of the team’s business comes via client recommendations or repeat business. The department are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, reflecting the high standards of service.

      The dispute resolution department are praised for the professional and diligent service they provide. They are skilled in all forms of dispute work including commercial and contract disputes, property litigation and debt recovery. The expert team offer alternative services such as mediation and direct negotiation.

      The employment team provide advice for both employees and employers on a range of employment-related issues, including HR support, redundancy, disciplinary issues and contract advice. They also provide support for discrimination at work and wrongful, unfair or constructive dismissal.

      The commercial property department work with a variety of businesses providing practical and clear advice on areas including sales and purchases of land, retail and industrial units as well as leases, financing and regulatory compliance work. The team’s experience spans a range of sectors including new build property, restaurants, leisure, retail and construction.

      The corporate and commercial team have grown from the ground up over the last three years and have developed a credible reputation, priding themselves on links with the local business community as well as advising national businesses including nursery childcare providers. The team encompass a strong mix of skills and experience and have a familiarity with a broad range of industries.

      Senior Partner Anna Wilson
      Managing partner Bill Willcocks
      Residential Conveyancing Stephen Parker
      Children Tom Powles
      Divorce and ancillaries Hanni Pennelegion
      Personal injury and medical negligence Richard Harries
      Litigation James Bell
      Wills, trusts and probate Tom Sharkey
      Commercial Property Salma Maqsood
      Corporate and Commercial Georgina Bryant
      Employment Samantha Castle
      Gareth Hughes photoMr Gareth HughesAssociate
      Anna Wilson photoMrs Anna WilsonExecutive Partner
      Number of UK partners : 23
      Number of other UK fee-earners : 70
      The Law Society of England & Wales
      Law Society Children Panel

      CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: While dealing with Barcan+Kirby Solicitors I found them to be polite, prompt, they also explained all the Legal matters in a way I understood. When given timescales I was kept informed of progress, any delays that arose for any reason & kept in touch. I was also impressed with the way they handled the Covid situation & continued to work whilst in lockdown. I am totally happy & satisfied with their work to resolve my case.

      CLIENT: Clinical Negligence client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I chose Barcan + Kirby due to their presence in my local area of Bristol. I’m very glad that I did, as from the initial phone call, an appointment / consultation was made very quickly. I immediately felt safe and confident that I’d made the right choice. I’d never made a claim in my life before, so I was nervous and apprehensive at first, but I was briefed quite thoroughly in an easy-to-understand way about what going forth with the case would entail. Personally, I appreciate this kind of thorough approach as, if one is going to go ahead with this kind of action, then no stone should be left unturned. I would thoroughly recommend them.

      CLIENT: Real Estate – Property Litigation client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: Sharlie Sollars calmly managed a land dispute which became protracted and at times, awkward. Sharlie stuck to the objectives in the interests of the bigger picture and demonstrated a very good balance of carrot and stick, where necessary. The outcome was ultimately successful with satisfactory ‘wins’ for both parties. We were very pleased with Sharlie’s tenacity and professionalism and on a personal note, her manner and approachability.

      CLIENT: Real Estate – Property Litigation client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I can’t fault any of the work carried out by James Bell and his team. I gave James very little time to prepare for anything let alone actually take my case on as i had left it to the last minute (2 days to prepare) I actually believe had I gone to another solicitor they would not have taken me on. A friend had dealings with Barcan + Kirby a couple of years ago so I am glad I went with her advice.

      CLIENT: Real Estate – Commercial Property client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: We used Barcan & Kirby for a complex Commercial Property purchase. Fantastic proactive team working from everyone we met. We got the job done slightly ahead of schedule and on budget. No transaction is ever straight forward but the support we had was amazing, practical and pragmatic. Highly recommend.

      CLIENT: Real Estate – Commercial Property client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: Barcan + Kirby provided commercial legal advice which clarified the issues quickly on a potential property purchase. I will use them again in the future.

      CLIENT: Personal Injury client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I was extremely impressed and satisfied with the service I received; I was kept well informed and completely in the loop at all junctures – I cannot highly recommend this firm of lawyers enough – their friendly professionalism was a real beacon of light and I was guided expertly and informatively throughout – thank you!

      CLIENT: Personal Injury client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I advise anyone to use this firm of solicitors. They are highly competent, professional & knowledgeable solicitors with a vast experience of the claims they handle. Trust them. Trust what they do. Trust they will do their best for you. My solicitor was excellent.

      CLIENT: Contentious Trusts & Probate client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I was very happy with the service provided to me at Barcan+Kirby Solicitors, the Solicitor provided the answers to all my questions and proceeded to help me along the probate questions I had at the time to be put forward to the Executor and Administrators, there was a positive outcome and all went well. Very grateful to my Solicitor Mark Scanlon and team, if needed again I will approach them for more services.

      CLIENT: Contentious Trusts & Probate client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I have had an emotionally difficult situation to resolve and found Mark Scanlan to be both professional and understanding at all times. He offers clear, concise and helpful guidance and where needed support. His no nonsense and systematic approach has been a great comfort and much appreciated. Having had previous negative experience with lawyers I would add that Mark and his firm have gone a good way towards re-educating me as to their excellent counsel and advice. Many thanks to Mark and his team.

      CLIENT: Private Client – Family client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I used Barcan and Kirby throughout the separation and then subsequent divorce. They provided a great service from the outset and their actions and advice allowed me to plan for the future from an early stage. I would highly recommend their services from straight forward to complicated cases. I have already recommended several friends on their service.

      CLIENT: Private Client – Family client
      COMPANY/FIRM: Barcan + Kirby Solicitors
      TESTIMONIAL: I can highly recommend Barcan and Kirby. Friendly helpful and very knowledgeable staff, always ready to help when needed. I had a solicitor that was knowledgeable, helpful and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have had them. Thank you to everyone.