On 4th April 2022, Reeds Solicitors opened the Bristol office of its Court of Protection (COP) department following the success of its team in Cardiff. The COP team, which is a Public Law Sector finalist at this year’s Wales Legal Awards is led by Sarah Griffiths-Jones, one of WalesOnline’s 30 Young Lawyers to Watch in 2018. As such, we wanted to take this time to sit down with Sarah to find out the secrets behind her team’s success. Meet Sarah Griffiths-Jones…

Sarah is a highly respected Mental Health Solicitor and is a member of the Law Society Mental Health Panel, the Mental Health Lawyers Association, and the Court of Protection Practitioners Association.


Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Sarah. First of all, why did Reeds Solicitors open a COP office in Bristol?

Sarah Griffiths JonesOne of our team members, Camille Ivinson, a highly respected COP Solicitor, lives in and in fact mastered her craft in Bristol. When she joined the team based in Cardiff in April 2021, the pandemic was rife, and we were all working from home in the main. Thankfully, we were able to continue to provide Camille’s extensive client base in Bristol with a Rolls Royce service via remote measure where necessary. However, as a team, we are committed to providing a high standard of service in person wherever possible. We want clients to have access to proper representation on their doorstep and so, as the World has thankfully begun to open back up, the decision to open the Bristol branch was made. I will head up the Department, closely assisted by Camille. We also have a Trainee Solicitor based in the new branch, Natasha Lukies, who is full of promise. To her credit, she already has a wealth of experience from roles to date and is already building a strong client base in Bristol and the surrounding areas.

How did the Covid pandemic affect COP work and how did your team rise to the challenge?

By the very nature of our work, the majority of our clients are deprived of their liberty in care homes or hospitals. Those being some of the most feared settings for many throughout the pandemic, but despite that, my team donned full PPE, engaged in rigorous testing, and adopted every other safety precaution possible to visit clients in person whenever it was possible to do so. This enabled us to safely visit people personally in situations where remote attendance would not have done our clients, nor their cases, justice.

I feel humbled and grateful that in some cases, my team was able to continue to personally provide warmth, support, and reassurance to people at a time when sadly, even their family members could not. They gave expert legal guidance, with a professional, but human touch.

Where in-person attendance wasn’t possible we progressed matters via remote measures, for example, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype. In doing so, we have helped shape access to justice for clients by ensuring those who were the most isolated were still able to advance a legal challenge before the court.

What made you decide to specialise in COP work?

My background is in criminal and mental health law, the latter I have specialised in for over 10 years. I have represented those who are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 at all levels of security. There can be an overlap between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983, and it became apparent to me that when I was referring clients to other firms for representation in COP proceedings, they were not always getting the same high level of representation.

Jon Wilkins and I discussed the gap in the market and that subsequently led to the Reeds COP team being created in 2019. Sadé Asker joined me a year later and given the Team’s success, we have grown exponentially ever since.

The key? Our clients are at the heart of all we do, I am not interested in recruiting Solicitors who don’t share that ethos. This has made developing the team challenging; it hasn’t been as straightforward as simply employing those who have experience in the field. I receive CV’s from people daily, expressing a wish to join BUT, those who do, need that extra something special. I am firmly committed to building a team of excellence to represent some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The ability to work well as a team is also of vital importance to me. Our team is absolutely united in all that it does and that is another key factor to the success of our department.

Finally, what makes your COP team special?

Not only do my team possess exceptional legal ability, but they also truly care about clients, their families and one another. As I said above, people are at the heart of all we do and that commitment cannot be taught, it is innate. Our team is incredibly close and highly regarded, as evidenced by the fact that some of the best solicitors from our competitor law firms have chosen to join us.

The quality of our COP team is evidenced by the calibre of those we have employed to date. We are home to two of just four Law Society Accredited Legal Representatives (ALR’s) in South Wales, with another two members of the team currently embarking on the route to such accreditation.

In addition, we are also home to one of the largest Mental Health practices in Wales, with 3 accredited Mental Health Solicitors in the team, who are able to assist in any overlap between the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act. We provide in-house advocacy before both forums to the highest level, but also have access to exceptional Counsel should the need arise.

Respectfully, I don’t believe any of our Welsh competitors can currently match that level of professional accreditation.

Our excellence has been recently recognised in the Wales Legal Awards – we are now a finalist for Public Law Team of the Year, and also see one of our home-grown Solicitors, Rhiannon Phillips, through as a finalist to the Rising Star of the Year, a title currently held by our very own Molly Fensome-Lush.

What we have achieved in just three years is pretty remarkable and our plans for future expansion, really exciting!