Law Society Updates, May '16

Law Society Updates, May '16

Presidential Election Results

The Law Society has announced the results of their 2016 Presidential elections. Christina Blacklaws will take office as Deputy Vice President in July this year when Robert Bourns becomes President and Joe Egan takes over as Vice President.

Unrepresented Defendants

The Law Society has responded to an article in the Gazette following a report from Transform Justice which suggests that miscarriages of justice and long delays in the criminal-justice system are becoming more common because a growing number of people are having to represent themselves in court.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

For the second year running  the professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewal went smoothly for the vast majority of firms, the Society’s 2015-16 PII survey has found. The market remains competitive and very favourable for firms, with plenty of rated capacity.

LSB Consultation

The Legal Services Board (LSB) consulted on proposals to update their current rules on complaints-handling and signposting to the Legal Ombudsman. The LSB put in place prescriptive rules relating to signposting to the Legal Ombudsman in May 2010. We have questioned the need to retain the current LSB requirements given that all frontline regulators have put in place regulatory requirements in relation to signposting to the Legal Ombudsman. You can read the Law Society's response here.

Welsh Government's Consultation

The Law Society responded to the Welsh government’s consultation on the statement of public participation - the first stage in preparing the country’s National Development Framework.

Law Society Annual General Meeting

The Law Society or England and Wales' Annual General Meeting will be held at Chancery Lane on Thursday 14 July at 2.30pm.

Growth in Number of Practising Solicitors

According the the Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report for 2015, the number of practising solicitors both in-house and in private practice is on the up.

EU Referendum

The Law Society President, Jonathan Smithers, gave the opening remarks at a well attended Brexit event on Thursday 28 April looking at the potential implications of Brexit on the legal services sector. There were over 100 attendees and the event was chaired by Monica Burch, senior partner at Addleshaw Goddard. The panel included Kier Starmer QC MP and Chris Bryant, competition partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner presenting the argument to remain, and Clive Thorne, partner at Wedlake Bell and Martin Howe QC presenting the argument to leave. The Society’s Europe report and modelling of the economic impact set out the Society’s contribution to the discussion.

International Highlights


The Law Society hosted an inward delegation of Ghanaian lawyers and a networking lunch on Friday 29 April. Ghana is a priority market for Law Society members.


On Monday 25 April the Law Society received a delegation from the Singapore Ministry of National Development (MND) interested in learning more about conveyancing in England & Wales. The Society impressed the MND with our knowledge about digital property instruments and electronic property transaction processes, and thereby strengthened our thought leadership position in Singapore.

International Human Rights

In cooperation with Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the Law Society coordinated the submission of a letter to six United Nations special procedures (five Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention) regarding the arrest and detention of two human rights lawyers in Turkey. The letter will be signed by the chairperson of the Society’s Human Rights Committee.