Our Law Firm

One of the leading law firms in South East Kent, Girlings has been successfully managing the legal affairs of Commercial, Family and individual clients for over 131 years.

We currently have 10 Partners, 28 staff authorised by the SRA (Solicitors Regulatory Authority) and over 50 support staff based at our offices in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay. We can offer you high standards of client care, outstanding legal advice and a comprehensive range of value for money services delivered by legal specialists who are experts in their fields.

You'll find us approachable, friendly and easy to deal with. We won't baffle you with jargon, and we will keep you fully informed about your legal position and options. Meetings are arranged to fit your timetable, not ours, and we are happy to visit you at your office, or your home, if this is more convenient for you. We are committed to continually improving our service and invite all our clients to complete a client satisfaction questionnaire.

 Client Satisfaction Questionnaire


Our History

Girlings Solicitors first started in 1881 when solicitor, Walter Hills, set up an office in Margate as a sole practitioner. Girlings is now one of the oldest and largest law firms in Kent with its head office in Canterbury and other offices in Ashford and Herne Bay. The growth in the size of the firm to one of the leading solicitors in Kent has been mainly by its own development but along the way a number of well respected firms of sole practitioners have also been acquired. It wasn’t until 1944 that the Girlings name first appeared over the door – J W Girling became a partner in 1934 and 10 years later the firm was renamed Girling, Wilson and Bailey, becoming Girling, Wilson and Harvie in 1953 and in 1987 Girlings Solicitors. Two generations of Girlings have worked at the firm with Tony Girling who retired in 2000 achieving national recognition as a former President of the Law Society, a High Court Costs Assessor, a founder member of the Supreme Court Costs Office Practitioners Group, and an acknowledged authority on costs, funding and client care problems. Girlings Solicitors became a Limited Liability Partnership in 2014.

Solicitors in Canterbury

The Canterbury office first opened in 1906. Canterbury is now the head office and is based in the heart of the city at 16 Rose Lane. Since it first opened, the Canterbury office has relocated several times starting off at 7 High Street, and then occupying 3 Upper Bridge Street, 9 St George’s Place, 28 St Margaret Street, 31 Watling Street and Dane John Gardens before its move in 2003 to the new, open plan premises at Rose Lane.

Solicitors in Ashford

Ashford is a fast-expanding town and recognised as one of the best business locations in Kent. Two mergers, one in May 1999 with Christopher Page Solicitors and the other in January 2003 with Stoodley Phippen firmly established Girlings’ presence in the town with premises at Bank House and Stourside Place. In 2012 the decision was taken to consolidate Ashford operations at Stourside Place.

Solicitors in Herne Bay

The Herne Bay office opened in 1934 above the Midland Bank. A move was made to 158 High Street in 1947. Ian Burrow and Co, a highly respected conveyancing practice based in Herne Bay, merged with Girlings in March 2006 and in May of the same year the High Street practice moved to their current offices in William Street.

Solicitors in Margate

From 1898 until 1964 the Margate offices were at 19 Cecil Square until they were compulsory purchased for the development of the town’s new civic centre and courts. The firm then occupied National Westminster Bank Chambers at 13 Cecil Square until 1978 when the move was made to offices at Crown Chambers in Margate, old town.  As part of its business  strategy to move from an historic profile as a multi-office high street practice and expand its operation as a mixed law firm which offers a balance of business law and private client services,  The firm took the decision to close its Margate office with effect from 30 September 2015. The move coincided with the planned retirement of Partner Robin Browne who had run the Margate office for the last 25 years. Clients in the Thanet area are now serviced from the firm's other offices.

Girlings Personal Injury Claims

Girlings‘ sister firm, Girlings Personal Injury Claims Ltd (GPIC), was created on 1st April 2010 and its staff are personal injury specialists and experts in medical negligence claims. This successful and fast-expanding firm is based in its own offices at Newingate House, 16-17  Lower Bridge Street, Canterbury, CT1 2LG.

Our Accreditations

The following accreditations demonstrate our commitment to customer service:

  • Lexcel accredited: We are Lexcel accredited, the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and excellence in client care.

  • Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accredited: Employing an accredited conveyancing solicitor is important. The Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. Membership establishes a level of credibility for firms with stakeholders such as regulators, lenders and insurers as well as residential homebuyers and sellers.

  • Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) accredited: The Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) provides a best practice quality mark for Wills and estate administration so that you can be assured that our Solicitors provide rigorous client service standards and give you advice you can trust.

  • Members of Resolution: If you are looking for a family law lawyer, our family law team are all members of Resolution, an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.
Supporting Our Local Community

At Girlings we see it as our responsibility to contribute towards an ethical and responsible society. Our Corporate and Social Responsibility policy supports this aim.

We also see it as our responsibility to act as a caring, active and responsible member of the local community. We believe that our contributions to the local community not only brings us closer together as a firm but allows us to invest in the future of East Kent, where we live and work.

We are committed to supporting our local Kent community and the public interest through a range of initiatives. Our contributions include talks and presentations to school and university students, contribution to governance of local schools and assisting artistic ventures by providing pro bono work (work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service).

We provide Pro Bono legal advice to some charities, social enterprises and to other organisations and individuals. Our Pro Bono work focuses on advising those who cannot afford to pay for legal advice and on matters where there are issues of wider public interest at stake. This includes providing volunteers for the Kent Law Clinic at the University of Kent.

Supporting local charities

Each year our staff nominate a local Kent charity to support and our corporate charity for 2015 is Chartham based Cobbes Meadow, an independent charity and a member of The Riding for the Disabled Association. Our Wills & Probate team also support the Canterbury branch of The Dogs Trust. We participate in the annual Will Writing Fortnight to raise money for Pilgrims Hospice and at all times endeavour to raise awareness for the importance of writing a will to ensure that loved ones are provided for. For further details of our recent and planned activities, please see our charity events page.

Sponsors of Kent County Cricket Club

We are proud to be the only solicitors in Kent that is an official business partner of Kent County Cricket Club. Kent is widely believed to be the birthplace of cricket and our sponsorship contributes to the continued growth and development of this historic Club which was founded in 1842.

Our Structure

Girlings operates its business as a Limited Liability Partnership and Andrew Watson is the Managing Partner.

Our existing structure has been achieved through organic growth, mergers and responses to changes in the legal services market. Our head office is based at Canterbury, and we also have offices at Ashford and Herne Bay. We currently have 10 Partners, 28 staff authorised by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and over 50 support staff.

We provide a comprehensive range of legal services which include:

Personal Law

Residential Property
Head of Department - Ian Burrow

Private Client: Wills, Estates Administration & Trusts
Head of Department - Lesley Rushton

Family Law: Divorce & Separation
Head of Department - Sarah Finnis

Business Law

Commercial Property
Head of Department - Jeremy Burke

Corporate & Commercial
Head of Department – Carl Vincent

Employment Law
Head of Department - Carl Vincent

Dispute Resolution (including Tenant & Landlord)
Head of Department - David Mallinson

Debt Recovery
Head of Department – David Mallinson


Not For Profit

Our Solicitors, all experts in their field, work with schools, universities, further education establishments, charities, and social housing providers as well as with organisations in the health and social care sector on a wide range of matters.

Getting in touch is the first step to getting the advice you need.

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01233 664 711
01227 768 374
Herne Bay
01227 367 355

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Commitment Without Compromise