Law Society Legal News Summary 3 May 2024

21st Century Justice 

The Gazette, Solicitors Journal and Business Mayor cover the new 21st Century Justice Project interim report published by the Law Society. Mind the justice gap: Law Society's aims to bridge disparities. According to findings, 42% of people with lower incomes lacked legal representation in court, compared to only 19% of those with higher incomes.

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.

The Ombudsman Association welcomes the Law Society’s commitment to working with the Ombudsman sector and other stakeholders, to promote ombudsman schemes as a key part of the civil justice system.

Stratford Magistrates’ Court

The Gazette reports a solicitor has been allegedly injured during a ‘serious’ incident involving court security officers at Stratford Magistrates’ Court. 

A Law Society spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of a number of serious incidents at Stratford Magistrates’ Court. 

“What we have heard is truly shocking indicating a pattern of alleged rogue behaviour by HM Courts and Tribunals Service contracted security team at Stratford, including what appears to be a serious incident involving a solicitor yesterday. 

“We are making urgent enquiries of HMCTS to establish the facts and to secure assurances as to the safety of our members.”

Sanctions against Russia 

Social Bites reports that members of the UK House of Commons Treasury Committee held a hearing and said that the sanctions against Russia were not effective enough and provided loopholes to circumvent them. It was reported that the committee accepted three dozen letters including from the Law Society of England and Wales.

Anti-money laundering guidance 

Today’s Conveyancer reports the latest number of Suspicious Activity Reports submitted by legal and conveyancing professionals has fallen by 13% year on year. The article mentions that the Law Society, among others, have also produced their own anti-money laundering guidance and toolkits for legal professionals.

Will disputes 

Today’s Wills and Probate article on top ten tips for no win no fee Will disputes mentions the Law Society’s guidance about legal services.

Flood risk practice note 

Work For You mentions Law Society’s practice note on flood risk as part of the government commissioned Review of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Assets.  

Also worth a read:

  • Opinion piece about positive change in the funding model of local legal walks - Gazette
  • Tories set to lose half of seats they are defending in ‘near catastrophic’ local election result - Independent
  • Research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University’s Centre for Access to Justice and Inclusion explains how algorithmic discrimination can occur like in the Post Office Horizon scandal – New Law Journal
  • Police say that 45 protesters in Peckham were arrested after they blocked a coach from taking asylum seekers to the Bibby Stockholm barge - Standard
  • Mediation on the rise as couples and companies try to avoid court– Times (£)
  • Solicitor convicted of carrying out a 'dine and dash' at a Harvester restaurant has been struck off the roll - Gazette (also in Telegraph, Legal Futures and MSN)
  • Labour's shift on worker rights: A business-oriented approach – Solicitors Journal

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