Law Society Legal News Summary 2 May 2024

21st Century Justice 

A publicly funded online guidance tool to help identify legal issues is one of the proposals to emerge from the Law Society’s pioneering 21st Century Justice Project, reports the Gazette.

The project’s interim report, published today, lists 'actionable simple ways' to future-proof the justice system in seven key areas of civil law. 

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “Access to justice is a fundamental right that should not be contingent on a person’s background or financial means. Our 21st Century Justice Project is leading the charge, identifying actionable simple ways to future-proof our justice system.

“Civil justice is not only vital for upholding the rule of law but also for maintaining a robust economy and ensuring a just society. With an impending general election, it is imperative for the new government to consider how to narrow the justice gap and create a fairer, more accessible system for all.”

Law Society vice president and chair of the 21st Century Advisory Group, Richard Atkinson is also quoted.

Probate delays 

The Times (£) and New Law Journal cover our concerns about the harmful impact that severe delays in probate applications have on grieving families. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “Delays to the probate service can adversely impact families during a difficult time, as they deal with the loss of their loved one. 

“We are aware of significant delays to the probate service. In 2016, before changes were made to the probate service, applications took on average seven to 10 working days to process. Most recent data shows delays of more than 13 weeks.** 

“It is unacceptable that some families are forced to wait in limbo for over three months, as they manage the complex administration that follows the death of a family member. 

“Delays have also forced grieving clients to incur additional costs, such as unnecessary interest payments on outstanding inheritance tax. Many property transactions also fall through.” 

See our press release

Updating wills

Daily Express cites our advice on updating wills and planning inheritance.

Law Society president Nick Emmerson recommends updating your will at least every five years and taking time to talk to family members, to manage expectations.

“Conversations around death and the transference of assets are hard, but the consequences of doing nothing are often more damaging,” he said.

Compulsory purchase orders 

Local Government Lawyer mentions our concerns about compulsory purchase order proposals from 2022.

Miscarriages of justice 

Justice Gap reports on a legal charity fighting miscarriages of justice. 

The piece reflects on the impact of cuts on the justice system and mentions our 2022 analysis of solicitors and firms leaving the criminal defence profession.

Also worth a read:

  • FDA seek judicial review over Rwanda scheme – Telegraph (£)
  • Interns given the job of weeding out potential wrongful convictions for rape and murder – Guardian
  • Local elections: Polling stations open – BBC
  • Law firm mega-merger goes live – Legal Cheek
  • Legislation needed to improve home-buying process – Legal Futures
  • Lady Chief Justice announces a new judge-led Transparency and Open Justice Board to modernise the UK’s approach to open justice – Gazette

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