Law Society Legal News Summary 19 March 2024


Safety of the Rwanda Bill

Mirror and Guardian (from 15:13) report the Law Society’s response to the next stages of the UK government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill, as MPs debated amendments to the bill passed by the House of Lords. 

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “While the Bill remains fundamentally flawed, peers have managed to make important improvements to the legislation in the House of Lords. 

“These changes reduce the negative impact on the rule of law and constitutional boundaries and strengthen safeguards to protect the most vulnerable. 

“It is vital that these improvements are maintained. Removing them would be a drastic blow to both the constitution and the safety of vulnerable individuals, including children and victims.” 

Read our press release
 

Court backlog

Law Society vice president Richard Atkinson speaks to BBC Kent and BBC Sussex about criminal court delays, as backlog in Crown court cases reaches a record high and more than 66,000 cases in England and Wales remain outstanding.

Richard Atkinson said: “It's a couple of decades of lack of investment. We have crumbling buildings in the personnel where the courts are unable to recruit legal advisers at the moment, where defence lawyers are leaving in droves. All of these have added to the fact that there simply aren't the resources to deal with the amount of work that we have.”
 

Legal aid means test changes delayed until 2026 

Justice Gap reports that the Ministry of Justice has delayed reforms to the legal aid means test until 2026. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “The system is in a precarious state and ultimately the ones who will suffer are those trying to seek justice.

“This means that poverty-hit families are being denied vital help to fight eviction, tackle severe housing disrepair and address other life-changing legal issues.

“We need decisive action and we need it now, so the people the government represents can get free legal help when they need it.”

Read our press release
 

Big Legal Lesson

 

Today’s Family Lawyer, Today’s Wills & Probate and Today’s Conveyancer cover the Law Society’s participation in the Big Legal Lesson, which aims to improve legal literacy in the classroom. 

President Nick Emmerson said: “Ensuring young learners know their rights and responsibilities, whilst respecting the Rule of Law, is vital to securing access to justice for all. Whether or not they go on to practice law, The Big Legal Lesson is a fantastic opportunity for pupils and students to understand how our justice system works and why it matters to them. The Law Society is delighted to support this Young Citizens initiative, which we know will make a huge impact on young people, teachers and legal professionals alike.”
 

Misuse of NDAs 

Solicitors Journal (£) covers the Law Society’s response last year to a call for evidence on the misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
 

National Conveyancing Week 

Gazette mentions the Law Society’s ‘Conveyancing Protocol’ in a piece about National Conveyancing Week.
 

Money laundering risk assessment 

Lexis Nexis (£) covers the Law Society’s newly published review of the SRA’s money laundering risk assessment.
 

AI and data protection 

Lexis Nexis (£) reports that the Law Society has responded to the Information Commissioner Office‘s generative AI and data protection consultation.
 

Also worth a read: 

  • MPs throw out amendments made to the Rwanda Bill by the Lords - Guardian
  • Rwanda bill will be sent back to the House of Lords on Wednesday – BBC News
  • Rwanda asylum plan: Explained - BBC News
  • Rishi Sunak dismisses talk of a leadership challenge – Times (£)
  • IBA guidance for law schools to promote wellbeing of law students - Legal Cheek
  • MoJ dismisses calls to reform the whiplash claims process – Legal Futures
  • HM Land Registry calls for evidence on fee reform - Gazette
  • Court ruling removes ‘consent defence’ for climate activists - Guardian

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