Law Society Legal News Summary 27 March 2024

SRA fining powers 

Gazette, Solicitors Journal, Gazette Ireland and Today’s Conveyancer report the Law Society’s concerns about the SRA’s new fining powers, as we issue guidance to help members avoid being caught by the fines. 

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “It is almost two years since the Ministry of Justice raised the SRA’s internal fining powers for solicitors and traditional law firms from £2,000 to £25,000, despite our strong opposition to the change. The fines we have been seeing issued range from around £12,000 to £23,000. 

“We acknowledge that firms or individuals which have failed to follow their professional obligations, should face appropriate sanctions, but we remain seriously concerned about the SRA acting as investigator, prosecutor and judge. 

“We also published new guidance on investigation and enforcement and what to expect from the SRA and the SDT and support available to solicitors or firms facing disciplinary action.”

New TA6 form 

Gazette and Legal Futures report that the Law Society has published a new TA6 Property Information Form that supports National Trading Standards material information guidance. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “Earlier contact between sellers and their solicitors may provide an opportunity to address any issues that could cause delays in the sale process at a later date. We hope that the TA6 will help facilitate the flow of information from marketing a property by estate agents through to the legal process. 

“The aim is that having better informed buyers could help reduce both the time the process takes and the number of sales that fall through.” 

Read our press release

Employment Tribunal fees 

Solicitors Journal covers the Law Society’s response to the impact that Employment Tribunal fees could have on access to justice. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “Government needs to comprehensively investigate the impact that introducing employment tribunal fees would have and put in place detailed plans to ensure there is no decrease in access to justice. 

“Before the government considers introducing a fee regime, it needs to be sure that all workers can access justice.” 

Read our press release

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill 

Property Industry Eye and Real Property News cover the Law Society’s view that an announcement for ground rent reform is urgently needed, as the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill has its second reading in the House of Lords today. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “We support the addition of amendments to the Bill to restrict the sale of new leasehold houses. 

“The provisions mean that, other than in exceptional circumstances, every new house in England and Wales will be freehold from the outset. Houses should be sold freehold unless there are specific reasons justifying a leasehold tenure. 

“In the absence of current proposals to promote the use of commonhold tenure, we support the Law Commission’s 2011 proposals to reform freehold law which would enable houses on managed estates to be sold as freehold more easily. We would urge the UK government to include these proposals in this Bill.” 

Read our press release

Homicide charges 

Stuart Nolan, Chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live (from 1:22:04) about the distinction between murder and manslaughter charges, in the wake of the Nottingham stabbings.

Deprivation of liberty 

Pam Insight (£) reports that the Law Society has updated our deprivation of liberty guidance.

Early legal advice pilot 

Gazette covers the Law Society’s response to the MoJ’s early legal advice pilot, which officials have admitted “failed fast.” 

Also worth a read: 

  • Lady Chief Justice looks to take away trial by jury to reduce court backlog – Times (£)
  • UK government to meet subpostmasters convicted and sacked during a second IT scandal at the Post Office - iNews
  • Kevin Hollinrake has said damages from the Post Office IT Horizon scandal could top £1bn - BBC News
  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces a further wait to find out whether he can bring an appeal against his extradition to the US after judges at the High Court adjourned their decision - Guardian
  • Supreme Court rejects appeals in whiplash mixed injuries case – Legal Futures
  • PM announces mini reshuffle of ministerial ranks – City AM

© 2024 Yorkshire Law Society Limited Registration No: 1902873
Registered Office: 3 Wharfe Mews, Cliffe Terrace, WETHERBY, West Yorkshire, LS22 6LX. All rights reserved.
Powered by Green Forest Design