Below is a report from the Chief Executive of The Law Society:
It has been a significant week for the Law Society and the political landscape. We have said goodbye and thank you to Jonathan Smithers as 171st Law Society president and said hello to Robert Bourns as the 172nd.We also saw the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister, Liz Truss as Lord Chancellor and an almost entirely new cabinet. We will be working hard to build effective relationships with the new administration as we continue to influence on behalf of the profession and the public interest.
We have also made some significant steps toward the future success of the organisation this week with the decision to invest in transforming our IT and further discussion of our governance review.
This week I would like to update you on:
Today we have published a briefing note on the consultation and the president is writing to local law societies with a copy. We will be submitting a full and evidence-based response to the consultation and urge the profession to consider the implications of the proposed changes and get in touch. Solicitors wanting to give feedback can email firstname.lastname@example.org
In August 2015, the department launched a pre-consultation exercise in which it proposed a fixed-fees regime for clinical negligence cases up to the value of £250,000. I described the proposal as ‘truly shocking’ as it would include claims where people had been very seriously harmed and would discriminate against those on lower incomes.
In March, the care quality minister, Ben Gummer, (who has now left health for the cabinet office) advised that because of the delay to the consultation the implementation date of October 2016 was not achievable. We await the consultation and in the meantime we continue to work closely with a range of other stakeholders in anticipation of its publication.
A number of publications highlighted calls from the Law Society for changes to the Investigatory Powers Bill, proposed in amendments to be debated in the House of Lords this week.
The Gazette, Litigation Futures and Legal Futures write that the Law Society has joined forces with claimant groups to present a united front against government proposals for personal injury reforms, forming an alliance with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Motor Accident Solicitors Society to oppose the planned changes.
On Monday (11 July) we hosted an event with the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law for professionals and specialists on child justice. The event was well attended and will lead to further collaboration with the Bingham Centre and War Child on this area of work.
On Wednesday (13 July), we met with Sir Desmond Swayne MP, a minister at the Department for International Development (DfID), to discuss strategic collaboration between our two organisations. We suggested an initial investment from DFID to support the delivery of these international programmes.
On Thursday (14 July), we met with Tazeen Hasan (Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, Women, Business and the Law) to discuss potential collaboration, especially on the forthcoming Gender and Development Programme.
51 delegates attended a joint event hosted by the Small Firms Division and Family Section at Chancery Lane on Thursday, entitled ‘Setting up shop – how to start up a small law firm”. The event featured presentations from the SRA, first-hand experience from practitioners who have set up their own small family law practices, advice from consultants specialising in risk and compliance and advising and supporting solicitors looking to set up their own firm.
Library Services Manager Michael Maher attended this week’s Liverpool Law Society General Council meeting to make a presentation about the library services that we offer to members. He has also been asked to write an article about the library services for Liverpool’s local newsletter.