Our Law Firm

Client Satisfaction Questionnaire

Girlings has been successfully managing the legal affairs of Commercial, Family and individual clients since 1881. We have offices in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay and 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.

Our sister company, Girlings Personal Injury Claims Limited, is Kent’s no-win no-fee specialist in personal injury and medical negligence claims, and is also based in Canterbury city centre in their own offices at Newingate House.

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.

Girlings Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under registration number 614527.

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.  Please see further details for former clients of Girlings Solicitors, Margate.

Solicitors in Folkestone

Girlings Solicitors merged with Gambrills on 31st January 2007 and is now the successor Firm to Gambrills. The Folkestone office was closed on 31st July 2011 following a decision to consolidate our Folkestone operation with our Ashford office. Please see further details for former clients of Girlings Solicitors, Folkestone

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.
  • Dementia Friendly Business:  Girlings is recognised by Kent County Council as a business that is 'Working to become Dementia Friendly'.

Girlings Personal Injury Claims (GPIC)

  • Headway: GPIC is an approved member of Headway, the brain injury association, which means its legal advisors are recognised by Headway as having the appopriate knowledge and understanding of acquired brain injury to offer expert legal representation in this specialist area.

  • Apil: GPIC is an Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) accredited personal injury specialist.

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.  Our Wills & Probate team participate in the annual Will Writing month 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, please see our Community 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 14 Partners, 28 staff authorised by the SRA (Solicitors Regulatory Authority) and over 45 support staff.

We provide a comprehensive range of legal services which include:

Personal Law

Residential Property
Head of Department - Jeremy Burke

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 – Chris Brightling

Employment Law
Head of Department - Carl Vincent

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

Debt Recovery
Head of Department – David Mallinson

Girlings Personal Injury Claims

Our sister company, Girlings Personal Injury Claims Limited, is Kent’s no-win no-fee specialist in personal injury and medical negligence claims, and is also based in Canterbury city centre in their own offices at Newingate House.

Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence
Managing Director – Jonathan Pidduck

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.

SRA Transparency in Price and Service

The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) Transparency Rules came into effect in December 2018.  The rules require legal firms to publish the fees, associated costs and typical timescales for matters for certain service areas and details can be found on the following pages:

Personal Law

Business Law


Complaints Procedure

We endeavour to provide you with the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure here.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and no more than six years from the date of act/omission or no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

For more information about the Legal Ombudsman please visit  www.legalombudsman.org.uk or  T: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm or E: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or write to Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Commitment Without Compromise