Regular update for local law society members from TLS President
6 August 2018
Your weekly Law Society update
As the professional body for solicitors, every week the Law Society is working hard to influence the legal and regulatory environment on behalf of our profession and to promote solicitors at home and abroad. We support practice excellence, are an informed source of legal sector news and support members at every stage of their career.
Here are some highlights from our work last week.
Influencing on behalf of the profession and promoting the profession
The Financial Times, Guardian, BBC 5 Live news, BBC Radio 4 news, PA Newswire and the Gazette are among some of the news outlets covering the news that the Law Society has won a high profile legal challenge against the government over changes to the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) which have meant a huge amount of work on the most complex crown court cases has gone unpaid In a strongly-worded judgment handed down this morning, the High Court quashed regulations implementing cuts to payments for document-heavy crown court cases.
The Law Society revealed the Excellence Awards shortlist this week and the Gazette reported on the brightest and best from the profession who will be in the running at the 12th annual awards in the Autumn.
A wide range of regional newspapers, including the Lancashire Telegraph, Sunderland Echo, Wakefield Express, Somerset County Gazette and Northumberland Gazette reported on figures from the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary that show the number of magistrates has dropped by 30% over the past 3 years. The Law Society was quoted widely.
The BBC, Guardian & Times cover a judgment by the Court of Appeal that the handling of claims for family re-unification by children dispersed from the Calais ‘jungle’ in 2016 was unlawful and breached rules of fairness. Law Society Immigration Committee member Sonal Ghelani worked on the case for Islington Law Centre with Safe Passage and Citizens UK.
Consultation responses and parliamentary activity, influencing on behalf of the profession:
We have issued a member briefing on the impact of the SRA’s proposals on transparency and pricing. The briefing is available on our website.
UCL have launched a review into the regulation of legal services, which will be led by Professor Mayson. The review is due to be completed by the end of 2019 and its conclusions will be presented to the Ministry of Justice.
Public and criminal law
The Crown Prosecution Service has published a consultation on a new Code for Crown Prosecutors. We are considering a response with the Criminal Law Committee.
On 31st July, together with the City of London Law Society and Fraud Lawyers Association, we made a joint submission to the House of Lords ad hoc Select Committee which is reviewing the operation of the Bribery Act.
The Technology and Law Policy Commission held its first evidence session on 25th July at Chancery Lane, taking evidence from expert witnesses on the current state of algorithms in the justice system. The highly publicised event included witnesses such as Chief Constable Michael Barton, Professor Lillian Edwards and Professor Lorna McGregor. The Commission continues to take written evidence and a video of the event will be published on our website in the coming weeks.
Our influencing work internationally:
I am at the American Bar Association Annual Conference in Chicago this week, with a wide range of meetings with the leadership of the ABA and the ABA Section of International Law and foreign bar leaders. We also organised two roundtables on Women in Leadership in the Law.
Supporting members at every stage of their career
Some of our upcoming events are:
Advanced Criminal Advocacy – Friday 9 November 2018
This is a full day course for senior practitioners who have experience of advocacy in the higher courts.
This webinar is inclusive for Private Client section members. For further information, please visit our website here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/communities/
This webinar looks at how lawyers get paid for work on deputyship (financial and property affairs) cases.
Deputyship cases are subject to an independent assessment by the Senior Courts Costs Office. A lack of knowledge of the assessment process and how to maintain/present files can lead to unnecessary reductions.
This webinar will help practitioners to obtain the right level of pay for the very valuable work that they do.
Supporting practice excellence
We have just released the shortlist for the 2018 Excellence Awards. We received a fantastic response to the Excellence Awards this year; nominations increased by 49% from last year and visits to the Excellence Awards landing page on our website went up by 73%.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 17 October at the striking new venue of Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London where our guests will hear from host Mishal Husain, key note speaker Funke Abimbola MBE and myself.
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff is crowdfunding to help drive a greater use of tech and tools to help those in most in need of legal advice and support. They’re going to launch a pilot with partner Toynbee Hall supporting immigration issues but they need additional funds – https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/the-jeanie-project/
She writes “cuts to legal aid mean that fewer people are able to access legal advice or representation, and many people with legal problems don’t know where to turn. But you knew that. We think we have a potential solution, using the ground-breaking technology KIM, but we need your help”.
They are half way to their target, but need your help by 9 August. They need just £1,500 more of pledges to meet their target. Please spread the word.
To gain insights into the current state of play with regards to the making, sale, and use of algorithms in the justice system in England and Wales
The Law Society in association with the Hindu Lawyers Association, Society Asian Lawyers and Association of Asian Women Lawyers are celebrating Diwali.
We are delighted to announce that the fifth Law Society and American Bar Association capital markets conference will take place on 30 November 2018.
As always, please feel free to share this update with your members unless otherwise specified.
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