Law Society Legal News Summary 17 May 2024

Evictions and repossessions 

BBC, Law360 (£), Solicitors Journal, Property Industry Eye, News Explorer, Landlord Today and Brunei Direct cover our response to the latest eviction and repossession statistics. Legal aid emerges as a crucial lifeline yet remains elusive for many. The Law Society of England and Wales urges immediate government action to broaden legal aid accessibility. 

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “We are alarmed by the growing number of individuals facing the threat of homelessness. With the cost-of-living crisis and soaring interest rates, many struggle to meet rent and mortgage obligations, placing their homes at risk. Legal aid often represents their sole recourse yet remains beyond reach.” 

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Solicitors Journal and Global Legal Post mention the Law Society and Bar Council’s updated cybersecurity questionnaire. 

Nick Emmerson, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, highlighted the importance of the updated questionnaire, stating: “Law firms and chambers are targets for the ever-growing threats from cyber criminals. We know that no one tool can offer complete protection against cyber threats but this updated questionnaire will help reassure clients that data is kept as secure as possible. Firms will need to continue to take other precautions, but the development of the questionnaire is an important step in the right direction.” 

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Operation Early Dawn 

MailOnline, LBC, Solicitors Journal, Automobile News, This is Money and Lexology cover our response to Operation Early Dawn. The Law Society of England and Wales said members reported 'carnage at court' with bail hearings postponed at the last minute due to the move from ministers. 

David McNeill, director of public affairs for the Law Society, said the MoJ had yet to reveal how it would prioritise prison space for the most potentially dangerous defendants awaiting a remand or bail hearing: “They are going to prioritise serious cases, particularly on remand. If you are a defendant in a very serious case or at risk of running away, you will be put in prison on remand prior to the court case”.

21st Century Justice 

The Canadian Lawyer covers our story about the 21st Century Justice interim report. Law Society in the UK proposes an online tool and other reforms to future-proof the civil justice system. 

Richard Atkinson, vice president of the Law Society and chair of the 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. Through this work we want to support our members to adapt and evolve so that they can continue to provide the legal advice people need.” 

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CILEX regulation 

Solicitors Journal reports on our call for the SRA to withdraw CILEX regulation proposals. 

Law Society CEO Ian Jeffery emphasised the redundancy and potential harm of the SRA’s proposals: “There is significant overlap between this consultation and CILEX and the SRA’s 2023 consultations. The SRA should withdraw these proposals and focus on its core responsibilities.” 

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Financial benchmarking survey 

Legal Futures mentions our financial benchmarking survey in a blog piece offering a two-point plan to halve the size of the SRA. 

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Probate service 

Today’s Wills & Probate reports that Ian Bond, Chair of the Law Society’s Probate Professional User Group was witness on the House of Common’s Justice Committee’s evidence panel about the performance of the probate service.

TA6 form 

The Times (£) gives information about the Law Society property TA6 form that asks sellers whether their land or adjacent property is affected by Japanese knotweed.

Property contracts 

The Local Government Lawyer looks at our proposed new codes for signing and exchanging property contracts.

Also worth a read:

  • The Times’ view on governmental failure over prisons - Times (£)
  • ‘Fewer than 10 migrants’ on first Rwanda flight – Telegraph (£)
  • Special report: Generative AI and global tensions are shaping the legal agenda - FT (£)
  • Barristers turning away from government legal work over frozen fees – Legal Futures
  • Alex Chalk has urged regulators to take ‘robust and prompt’ action against any lawyer implicated in the Post Office scandal - Gazette.
  • The House of Lords will deliberate on significant amendments to the Victims & Prisoners Bill – Solicitors Journal
  • Record numbers of knife offenders avoiding prison as judges deliver fewer custodial sentences because of the overcrowding crisis - Telegraph (£)
  • Abandon obsession with woke issues, Police Scotland told - Times (£)
  • LSB Introduces stricter guidelines for handling consumer complaints in legal services – Solicitors Journal
  • Government proposals to resurrect employment tribunal fees could spectacularly backfire – New Law Journal

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