Regular update for local law society members from TLS President Joe Egan

12 February 2018

Dear colleagues,

This week’s update includes:

  • Council
  • Law Society Update survey
  • CEO appointment process
  • Lord Justice Jackson’s supplementary report
  • Legal and regulatory policy update
  • Parliament
  • Media
  • International

Council

We made further progress toward our new governance arrangements at Council this week. You can see more about the newly appointed board members here. A report of the meeting will appear in the Gazette and a summary will be issued to Council and local law societies.

Law Society Update survey

As part of our work to improve how we communicate, we’ve created a survey to ensure the content of my update is relevant to you. We send the update  local law societies on Mondays. I’d be grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to complete it. We have a very small number of responses so far and cannot yet draw any conclusions.

CEO appointment process

The advert for our permanent CEO has now been placed.

You can see it here. The recruitment schedule should lead to the appointment of the successful candidate towards the end of May.

 Lord Justice Jackson’s supplementary report on fixed recoverable costs.

The Civil Justice Committee continues its scheme of roundtable meetings across the jurisdiction, collecting valuable opinions and insight from our members in commercial litigation practices. These meetings have been conducted in Cardiff, London and Manchester with the next meeting being held in Cambridge in mid-February. The report recommends (among other things):
– Extending fixed recoverable costs across the remainder of the fast track.
– Creating a new intermediate track with fixed recoverable costs in cases of up to £100,000.
– A voluntary pilot of capped recoverable costs in the business and property court for cases up to £250,000.

The Ministry of Justice has pledged to launch a consultation based on the contents of the report in due course. We are actively engaging with members of the profession to gather views and identify issues and points of contention. We want to ensure a more representative response can be prepared once the consultation is launched. If you would like to lodge your views and opinions with the committee, please contact Jaymi Wooldridge at jaymi.wooldridge@lawsociety.org.uk

 Legal and regulatory policy update

National Apprenticeship Week

As part of National Apprenticeship week, we are hosting an event called Apprenticeships in the Legal Sector at Chancery Lane on 5 March.  The free event is aimed at those in the legal sector already providing apprenticeships, as well as those considering doing so, to help firms make the most of education and training opportunities.  Speakers include Petra Wilton, director of strategy at Chartered Management Institute; Claire Tunley, head of employability at City of London Corporation;  Paul Wilson, head of regulatory affairs at The Law Society; and Gun Judge, head of resourcing at Addleshaw Goddard.  More information and booking is available on our website.

 Intellectual Property- Unjustified Threats Act

We have shared our new podcast on the new changes introduced by the IP (Unjustified Threats) Act with IP Law Committee member, Matthew Harris. The podcast also explores how we lobbied for much needed legislative change in this area. The changes include the removal of personal liability for professional advisers.

Exceptional Case Funding

We will be hosting a webinar on exceptional case funding.

The webinar, which we have organised with the Public Law Partnership, will be broadcast live on Tuesday 13 February, 13:00-14:00, and then available to download. The webinar is presented by Katy Watts, solicitor at the Public Law Project.

 Parliament

On Monday, chief executive Paul Tennant and I met the lord chancellor and discussed Brexit, the LASPO review, and court modernisation.

On Tuesday I met Charlie Elphicke MP, member of the Commons Treasury Select Committee. I also met with Lord Cromwell, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking and Finance and member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee and its Justice Sub-Committee.

On Wednesday vice president Christina Blacklaws spoke at an event organised by the South London Law Society on AI and future legal careers at Southbank University.

 Media

talkRadio interviewed Law Society head of justice Richard Miller about underfunding in the criminal justice system. The on-air conversation was wide-ranging and touched on the most recent cuts to criminal legal aid.

BBC London news interviewed Law Society head of public and criminal law Mark Paulson about the closure of a forensic science laboratory and the crucial role labs play in the criminal justice system.  He explained it is the value of forensic services not their cost that matters, because the price of putting things right when they go wrong is huge.

The Law Society Gazette reported my comment on the government’s response to a wide-scale review of employment practices.

The Financial Times (subscription) reported insurers are delaying or reducing pay-outs to people seriously injured in accidents, raising suspicions among personal injury lawyers they are holding back in the hope of benefiting from pending changes to the discount rate.

International

On 6 February we hosted the third roundtable on women and the law, chaired and championed by vice president Christina Blacklaws. During the roundtable, we reviewed the responses of the women and the law survey and agreed on the course of action for the upcoming months.

From 6-8 February we visited Russia in response to the ongoing discussion around the reform of the legal profession in Russia and the likely impact of the reform on UK law firms currently based in Russia. We engaged with our members and the Russian Federal Chamber of Advocates (RFCA) to discuss the proposed reform. We also lobbied the Russian Ministry of Justice on the proposed reform specifically in relation to the direct/indirect control of law firms by foreign individuals or entities.

From 8-10 February we attended the European Presidents conference in Vienna with fellow European bar leaders. We also met members based in Vienna to discuss the impact of Brexit on their practice as solicitors in Austria.

 If you have any questions please contact me.

As always, please feel free to share this update with your members unless otherwise specified.

Kind regards,

Joe

Joe Egan
President

The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL

twitter: @lawsocpresident

www.lawsociety.org.uk

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