Law Society Legal News Summary 10 May 2024


21st Century Justice 

Legal Futures reports that the Law Society has published the 21st Century Justice interim report and focuses on the report’s proposal for HM Courts and Tribunal Service to host a single online entry point for legal disputes, whether or not they end up in court. 

Richard Atkinson, vice-president of the Law Society and chair of its 21st Century Justice advisory group said: “What is clear is that the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation and AI have driven a fundamental change in both legal services and the justice system, and in the way consumers connect and engage with them.” 

With a general election expected this year, “all political parties must urgently consider what they will do to protect and enhance a civil justice system that is the cornerstone of the rule of law, a healthy economy and a fair society”. 

Read our press release
 

Stratford Magistrates’ Court 

Legal Cheek reports that London’s biggest chambers has announced it will not be sending pupils to Stratford Magistrates’ Court following a report of a ‘serious’ assault by security staff against a duty solicitor. 

A Law Society spokesperson commented that “a number of serious incidents” had been brought to its attention, following a “pattern of alleged rogue behaviour”. 

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

The Gazette also reports the story.
 

Financial benchmarking survey 

Legal Futures reveals that the Ministry of Justice is formally looking at whether interest on some client accounts could be diverted to fund legal services for people unable to afford advice. 

The Law Society’s recent financial benchmarking survey reveals that the total net interest income across the 147 firms surveyed, more than two-thirds of which had turnovers of under £10m, rose from £2.6m in 2022 to £27.5m in 2023. 

Read our press release
 

Conveyancing 

In a Times (£) article about homeowners facing rises in mortgage payments as they are deemed a ‘flood risk’ on updated map, it is mentioned that the Law Society’s guidance on conveyancing regulates the industry. 

In the Times Q&A section, the Law Society’s completion information and undertakings form (TA13) is mentioned in a question on the practical arrangements of handing over a property after sale.
 

Regulation review 

Legal Futures reports that there is “a growing case” for a review of the regulatory framework such as the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority’s approach to in-house lawyers. The framework was created by the Legal Services Act 2007 and Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk has acknowledged the need to review it. Also in the Gazette.
 

Also worth a read:

  • Alan Bates calls for protection of legal funding that helped bring Horizon scandal to court Guardian
  • Alan Bates: Our Post Office victory is being twisted by those who don’t want to see its like again Guardian
  • MPs in push to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales - Times (£)
  • UK out of recession with 0.6% growth as Hunt says economy ‘returning to health’ - inews
  • Keir Starmer promises to end ‘talk tough, do nothing’ approach to Channel crossings - Independent
  • ECHR will not stop us tackling illegal migration, says Justice Secretary – Telegraph (£)
  • Wandsworth prison put in special measures as risk of escape still ‘serious concern’ – Telegraph (£)
  • Law school 'not sufficiently preparing Gen-Z lawyers for work' - US survey - Gazette
  • The motherhood penalty: what gender-neutral policies can’t fix The Lawyer (£)

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