Law Society Legal News Summary 8 May 2024


21st Century Justice 

Today’s Family Lawyer covers the Law Society’s new 21st Century Justice Project interim report, which works on narrowing the gap in the UK’s civil justice system.

Law Society President Nick Emmerson said: “Everyone deserves a fair, timely solution to their legal problems and we know small businesses and people on low incomes can struggle to get the support they need. 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.”

Unregulated legal services 

New Law Journal reports that the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced the first part of its response to the investigation of unregulated legal services which provide will-writing, online divorce, and pre-paid probate services in the UK. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “We share the concerns raised by the CMA about possible breaches of consumer protection law such as misleading advertising, pressure selling and coercion of vulnerable customers. 

“Although will-writing itself is not a regulated service, consumers face potential risks when using unregulated will writers or services. This may result in writing a will that is not legally valid. In this case, your estate will not be inherited exactly as you wish. Regulated will-writing offers peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.”

Long-term seclusion 

Kirsty Stuart, chair of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, writes in the Gazette about the impact of long-term seclusion on vulnerable patients detained in mental health hospitals.

Disability inclusion

Gazette runs an in-depth feature on disability inclusion in law firms and the legal profession. The piece mentions our Disabled Solicitors Network’s ‘Legally Disabled’ research.

Chair of the Law Society’s Disabled Solicitors Network, Reena Parmar, said: “Asking the question ‘tell us what you need?’ at regular reviews, not just at the entry point, actually benefits everyone in the workplace as it normalises discussions about the support and tools that individuals need to thrive.”

Law Society diversity and inclusion adviser, Chris Seel, said: “If your law firm doesn’t have any disabled partners, you must ask yourself why. It may be the case that they are uncomfortable speaking out as they feel your culture is not sufficiently inclusive and that they may be discriminated against.”

Cybersecurity

Legal Business Online covers the threat of cyberattacks at law firms and mentions the Law Society’s research on cybersecurity in the legal profession.

In December, we reported that 65 percent of law firms in England and Wales had been hit by cyberattacks. Despite this, 35 percent of law firms do not have a cyber mitigation plan.

Gender pay gap

Law Society of New South Wales’s Law Society Journal analyses whether wage transparency will close the gender pay gap in the legal profession.

Co-vice chair of our Women Solicitors Network, Chantal Davies, said: “It’s about recognising that it’s the roles and the areas of work women are going into within the legal sector. They’re going into the smaller high street firms where they’re not getting the larger salaries and the areas of law where you don’t see the big bonuses.

“If you go into a family law department it will be predominantly female – and family law notoriously doesn’t pay well. If you go into a commercial property department in a large corporate firm, it will be predominantly men. There isn’t that gender balance that you’ll see in other areas of law.”

Also worth a read:

  • Rwanda won't guarantee how many migrants it will take from the UK - BBC
  • Home Office reveals criteria for selecting migrants deported to Rwandainews (£)
  • Charity report reveals at least 56 miscarriages of justice have occurred when the jury was split - Guardian
  • Litigation such as that spearheaded by Alan Bates could become harder if advice from senior figure at Labour peer’s Global Counsel given effect – Guardian
  • Online Safety Act introduces new rules that restrict social media platforms and their young users – Times (£)
  • SRA calls for power to launch random inspections of law firms – Legal Futures
  • New pilot to offer free counselling to jurors after distressing cases - Gazette
  • Post Office’s legal team told bosses that a second IT system was faulty and ‘unable to provide a clear audit trail’ but sub-postmasters were still prosecuted -  i news (£)
  • Garrick Club votes to allow female members for first time – FT (£)
  • Jurors in traumatic trials such as Lucy Letby case to get free counselling – Telegraph (£)
  • Home Office should be split up into two separate departments after 'falling short' on immigration reform – Daily Mail

© 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