Latest News

President’s Weekly update 09/09/2019

Your weekly Law Society update

As the professional body for solicitors, every week the Law Society is working hard to influence the legal and regulatory environment on behalf of our profession and to promote solicitors at home and abroad. We support practice excellence, are an informed source of legal sector news and support members at every stage of their career.

Here are some highlights from our work this week. Influencing on behalf of the profession and promoting the profession


The Law Society’s media profile this week

The Gazette, Times and The Financial Times report on problems solicitors are facing with the Defence Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC). The service was handed over to a new provider this week. David Greene, vice-president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said the call centre “appears to have undergone a complete system meltdown… denying suspects the right to legal advice risks miscarriages of justice”.

Wills and Equity committee chairman Ian Bond appeared in the New York Times talking about the PPI scandal. He told the paper we may have reached the 29 August compensation deadline but that may not be end of it. The NYT reports the mis-selling scandal led to £36bn of compensation payments to customers.

Lawyers respond to calls for ‘racial profiling’ for marriages in the Belfast Telegraph. Barry O’Leary, a member of our immigration committee is quoted.

The Independent, This Is Money, the Herald and the Belfast Telegraph reported on Boris Johnson’s comment that he would send asylum seekers crossing the channel back to France. Annette Elder, also a member of our immigration law committee, said: “This is another example of the way asylum seekers are criminalised […] Everyone has a right to seek asylum.”
Gary Rycroft, chair of our digital assets working group, was on BBC Radio Lancashire (1:51:00) about NDAs and why they might be used in businesses. He also discussed our new public guidance.

Legal Cheek reported on our diversity access scheme. The scheme awards scholarships to aspiring solicitors to help improve social mobility and diversity in the legal profession.

The Gazette revealed an HMCTS blog appeared to put the blame for delays in the probate system on solicitors. Jonathan Wood, national services director, wrote: “A considerable number of applications for probate have to be stopped because we need further information or assurance before we can issue a grant of probate.” I. Stephanie Boyce, deputy vice president of the Law Society, responded: “We will continue to challenge HMCTS to reduce the backlogs and create a probate system fit for the 21st century.”

Don’t forget you can read all Law Society press releases by clicking on this link.
For live updates follow us on Twitter.

Access to Justice 

Following the news the government will be delivering a fast-tracked one year spending review on 4 September, I have written to chief secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, calling for urgent investment across the wider criminal justice system. This follows the government’s spending announcements on policing, prisons and prosecution. I highlighted that the system is crumbling, that criminal legal aid fees must be raised to halt the increasing shortages of duty solicitors, and that the criminal means test threshold must be increased as a matter of urgency.


There has been a major breakdown in the service provided by the ‘Defence Solicitor Call Centre’ (DSCC) following a move to a new service provider. We have been liaising with members and are raising serious concerns with the LAA and MoJ about this. (See Media above).


The SRA has launched a consultation on “Assuring Advocacy Standards” which proposes a number of changes which will impact on Higher Rights Advocates (HCAs). We will be submitting a detailed response and are encouraging all HCAs to do the same

On 28 August, the Law Society’s Tax Law Committee held a roundtable meeting with senior tax and compliance solicitors on DAC 6 (EU Directive 2018/822 ). Law firms will be required to comply with significant new reporting rules in relation to a wide range of cross-border arrangements under DAC 6.  The meeting was part of our ongoing engagement with the profession and HMRC to address concerns as the rules are transposed into UK law.

Mental Health
This week the Mental Health and Disability Law Committee met with Rethink Mental Illness, the Ministry of Justice and the newly appointed Official Solicitor, Sarah Castle, to discuss litigation friends in the unified tribunals.

The Law Society’s response to the MoJ’s call for evidence in assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases will be submitted by the end of Friday 30th August.

Supporting members at every stage of their career 

Our new early career learning and development package is now live, including:

Solicitor Judges’ Division Seminar: Breaking Down Barriers, London – Tuesday 10 September 2019

Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This autumn, the Solicitor Judges’ Division is hosting a panel discussion on judicial diversity and how we can progress it.
Judicial appointments: interview training for solicitors, London – Friday 20 September 2019 
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This interactive course will equip delegates with the skills to enhance your application and interview performance. This workshop has been developed specifically for solicitors but the content is relevant for anyone serious about submitting a credible judicial application.

Judicial appointments: interview training for solicitors, London – Saturday 21 September 2019 
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
[See above]

In-house Division seminar: How to implement a D&I strategy in your legal team, Manchester -Wednesday 25 September 2019

Location: Weightmans, Hardman Square, 1 Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
Recent press coverage around how the in-house community can drive change has put a spotlight on this topic and we are keen to explore how the Law Society can help.

To Network or Not Work? How employee diversity network groups can add value to your business, London – 26 September 2019

Junior Lawyers International Weekend, London 27-29 September 2019
Make sure you save the date and book your place for this year’s International Weekend, which will take place between 27 September and 29 September 2019 in London. International Weekend provides delegates with a mix of technical and legal presentations, skills-based seminars, an overview of the legal system in England and Wales, and an introduction to the City of London.

International Weekend gala dinner London – Saturday 28 September 2019
This black-tie event forms part of the larger International Weekend 2019. The gala dinner, which will be held on Saturday 28 September at the Law Society in London, is aimed at junior lawyers in England and Wales and young lawyers from overseas jurisdictions but is open to all. For further information click here.

Advocacy and the Vulnerable Training, Bristol – Afternoon session, Friday 27 September 2019
Location: Bristol – Venue TBC
The Advocacy and the Vulnerable Training was developed in conjunction with the Bar to help solicitor advocates and barristers strike the balance between advancing their client’s case effectively in court whilst ensuring vulnerable witnesses are not subjected to undue stress.

Black History Month inspirational evening – Friday 4 October 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
The annual Black History Month Inspiration evening brings together an impressive line up of inspiring lawyers. In a highly competitive profession which presents innumerable challenges we profile and celebrate lawyers who have faced and overcame obstacles on their professional journey.

Supporting practice excellence

Competition Section seminar: CPD compliance for Irish practising certificate holders  London – Tuesday 10 September 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This two-hour seminar will cover essential CPD requirements for Irish practising certificate holders, with a particular focus on the regulatory element of Irish professional development.

Risk and Compliance autumn conference 2019: Mitigating risk in a changing regulatory landscape – Bristol Thursday 12 September 2019
Location: Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, Redcliff Hill, Bristol, BS1 6SQ
In this popular one-day event speakers will provide invaluable advice for shaping the future of compliance in your firm and offer practical guidance to help you cultivate a best practice culture throughout your firm or department. The autumn conference will be held in Bristol.

Law Tech
Our TechTalk series is going national! The next ‘introduction to LawTech’ event will take place on 18 September 2019 in Cardiff. This event aims to inform practitioners on the fundamentals of legal technology, the type of products available and opportunities for their business: Please book here:

Our joint event on ‘Demystifying LawTech’ with Barclays Eagles Lab and the City of London Corporation  – Wednesday 18 September 2019
Will look at the adoption of legal technology by law firms and businesses and pressure points preventing businesses from embracing technology. More information and free tickets are available here.
Small Firms Annual Conference 2019 – Thursday 19 September, London and Thursday 3 October, Leeds
Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon) will be this year’s keynote speaker. He will discuss changes in the legal sector and the future for small firms. The programme will also cover topics such as small firm business models, cost effective ways to market your firm and the latest updates from the SRA handbooks. Secure your place on or before Tuesday 3 September to save up to £50.

Property Section workshop: risk and negligence in property transactions – problems and pitfalls for practitioners, Leeds – Thursday 19 September 2019
Location: Shulmans LLP, 10 Wellington Pl, Leeds, LS1 4AP
As the residential property market slows and returns on commercial property are threatened by the decline of the High Street, the risk that property owners will look to the professionals who advised them to recoup their losses returns.

Private Client Section seminar: Professor King and topical issues in Private Client Practice, Birmingham – Thursday 19 September 2019
Location: Birmingham – Venue TBC
This one-hour seminar from Professor King will both educate and entertain you with practical guidance on topical issues in Private Client Practice. Lesley will bring you her unique insight and clarity on recent case law and statutory developments and will focus on avoiding traps and pitfalls.

New frontiers in data protection, ePrivacy and workplace surveillance, London -Thursday 26 September 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This conference will explore some major data protection challenges faced by solicitors, identify the danger spots in introducing new technologies and offer practical advice on mitigating risk.

Small Firms Division annual conference 2019  Leeds, – Thursday 3 October 2019
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds City Centre, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR
The Small Firms Division is dedicated to meeting the needs of all smaller legal businesses, including sole practitioners. The Division’s flagship annual conferences will take place in London and Leeds, and will provide practitioners with a half-day of small firms-focused conference sessions, practical tips and networking opportunities.


5 September – Vertical Agreements: The Digital Dimension and RisksStandard fee of £54 with a 20% discount for Competition Section members

6 September – Cryptocurrency in InsolvencyStandard fee of £54 with a 20% discount for Civil litigation Section members
9 September – Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on commercial property transactions update 2019Inclusive for Property Section members

10 September – Risk update 2019 – recent changes and hot topics in risk and complianceStandard fee of £54 with a 20% discount for Risk and Compliance Service members

11 September – Make crime (and civil law) pay (Tikit sponsored) – sponsored
17 September – SRA Standards and Regulations – changes and opportunitiesInclusive for Risk and Compliance Service members with a 20% discount to LMS members

19 September – Understanding SuDS: The importance of sustainable urban drainage systems and adaptation of water pipesStandard fee of £54 with a 20% discount for Property Section members

26 September – From emotional intelligence to authentically speakingInclusive for LMS members

30 September – Changes to the rules on reporting concerns, the SRA Enforcement Strategy and the new SDT rulesStandard fee of £54 with a 20% discount for Risk

Keeping members up to date

We have a number of newsletters for members. Below is a list, along with links for signing up to them.

Newsletter Sign-up method
Advocacy Update Update My Law Society preferences
Anti-money Laundering Update Law Society newsletter page
City Update Contact the City relationship management team
Diversity & Inclusion Update Update My Law Society preferences
In-house Forum Update My Law Society preferences
International Update Law Society newsletter page
Junior Lawyers Update Law Society newsletter page
JLD sign-up page
Legal Aid Update Law Society newsletter page
Professional Update Law Society newsletter page
Risk & Compliance Update Join the Risk and Compliance Service
Small Firms Focus Contact the Small Firms Division
Solicitor Judges Update Join the Solicitor Judges Division
Campaigns newsletter Sign up to the Campaigns newsletter
Parliamentary report Parliamentary report