Here are some highlights from our work last week.
Influencing on behalf of the profession and promoting the profession
The 6pm news on BBC Radio 4 was one of many broadcast bulletins to cover the Law Society’s High Court victory on Friday, August 3rd, when changes to the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) were ruled to be unlawful and were overturned. Head of justice Richard Miller was interviewed after the high-profile ruling and soundbites were aired on BBC Radio 6 Music and twenty-four regional BBC radio channels. BBC One Breakfast Television also reported on the judgment on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, I was quoted in The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Morning Star, Yorkshire Post, Northern Echo, Daily Post and Oxford Mail, Scottish Legal News, New Law Journal and Counsel Magazine.
The Independent reported on the news that the Home Office is imposing non-disclosure agreements (NDA) on at least one victim of the Windrush scandal. It drew attention to a Law Society warning that anyone who tried to reach an agreement with the Home Office without independent legal advice “could be denied justice”.
Law Society Council member and member of the technology and law committee Steve Kuncewicz spoke to Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4 PM about Apple’s decision, among others, to remove podcasts from American right-wing site Infowars.
Wills & equity committee member Kieran Bowe spoke to BBC Radio Surrey on August 8th to talk about the reasons to make a will as well as answer listener questions around making a will.
Former Law Society criminal law committee member Greg Stewart was quoted in approximately fifty local newspapers this week in a report focusing on juvenile crime and youth reoffending rates.
Don’t forget you can read all Law Society press releases by clicking on this link. For live updates follow us on Twitter.
Consultation responses and parliamentary activity, influencing on behalf of the profession:
Early advice campaign - over 100 people have now written direct to the Lord Chancellor in support of our early advice campaign, using our online template. This is a different action to the one focused on writing to local MPs, which is now closed and had 567 participants. You can write to the Lord Chancellor on our website here: https://lawsociety.e-activist.com/page/26570/action/1
We won the judicial review we brought against the Government and the LGFS regulations have been quashed as a result. Our case was won on both procedural unfairness and irrationality. Read our press release here.
The Lord Chancellor has responded to our letter with an apology for not including the Law Society in discussions with the Bar Council and CBA on the AGFS.
We have submitted our comments to HMCTS on the second draft of the Evaluation Framework for the Flexible Operating House Pilot.
We responded to the Queen’s Counsel Appointments consultation on proposed changes to the current QC appointments process. The response deals with two consultations issued by the QCA entitled 'QC Appointment Scheme - Listing of cases and assessors' and 'QC Appointment Scheme - Integrity, Character and Conduct'. Our response bears careful consideration of the existing process for the appointment of QCs and guidance for applicants which explains the approach taken by the selection panel at present.
The Society supports proposals that the QC appointments process should increase the diversity of those appointed as a QC and is supportive of mechanisms being put in place to try to ensure a level playing field in relation to both listing of cases and matters of integrity, character and conduct.
HMCTS Court Access Pilot
On 9 August, HMCTS announced a pilot scheme for speeding up access to courts for lawyers. The courts taking part in the pilot are Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Maidstone Combined Court; Southwark Crown Court, Tameside Magistrates’ Court and Wood Green Crown Court. Local court managers will be contacting firms in those areas about how to register for the pilot, which will open in September.
Our influencing work internationally:
I have been at the American Bar Association Annual Conference in Chicago this past week, attending a wide range of meetings with the leadership of the ABA and the ABA Section of International Law and foreign bar leaders. We also organised three roundtables on Women in Leadership in the Law and I spoke at three events on women in the law.
Lizzette Robleto de Howarth and Roberta Taveri are attending the annual conference of the Law Society of Kenya and organising a roundtable on International Women and the Law.
Supporting members at every stage of their career
We've now published “Your professional body – the value of your membership” aligned to the member offer. It clearly shows how we influence for impact and promote the profession and showcases the services we offer to support practice excellence, keep members up to date be a career companion.
Some of our upcoming events are:
Junior Lawyers Division forum: career development skills for junior lawyers - 8 September, London
The forum is a full-day event involving a series of presentations on various aspects of legal practice and career management. It will be followed by a networking drinks reception.
International action team training
This training session will focus on the basics of international human rights law and the process of writing intervention letters.
The training will also address the basics of human rights institutions and procedures at the United Nations level and regional human rights systems. We will also consider the issues that should be taken into account in drafting intervention letters as well as other means of intervention.
This training is only open to members of the Law Society’s International Action Team (IAT).
Future of Law lecture: Tackling bribery and corruption domestically and internationally
We invite subject matter experts to explore the most pressing legal questions facing the profession and aim to bring together leaders from across the legal profession, members, policy makers and key stakeholders to discuss how to maintain a successful legal services sector for the future.
Supporting practice excellence
We have just released the shortlist for the 2018 Excellence Awards. We received a fantastic response to the Excellence Awards this year; nominations increased by 49% from last year and visits to the Excellence Awards landing page on our website went up by 73%.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 17 October at the striking new venue of Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London where our guests will hear from host Mishal Husain, key note speaker Funke Abimbola MBE and myself.
Future of Law lecture: Current challenges to the rule of law in the UK with Dominic Grieve QC MP
Dominic Grieve QC MP, former Attorney General will be our key speaker for this lecture and will talk about the current challenges to the rule of law in the UK and what the legal profession can do to uphold and defend it. Cybersecurity, corruption and threats to business certainty have been reported as imminent threats and this lecture will explore how the legal profession can contribute to tackle them.
Property Section workshop: risk and negligence in property transactions - problems and pitfalls for practitioners
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. Hardwicke Chambers up and coming book: Risk and Negligence in Property Transactions, is therefore timely. Commissioned and published by the Law Society, this title identifies the problems, pitfalls and risks faced when acting for the buyer, seller or lender, possibly giving rise to a liability in negligence. To learn more about this, join the John de Waal QC and other contributors of the book for an interactive and practical breakfast workshop in which they will share and discuss some of their insights.
Civil Litigation Section autumn conference: It’s a risky business
This year’s Civil Litigation Section autumn conference will focus on risks that litigators face with the aim of equipping event attendees with the knowledge to manage such risks.
As always, please feel free to share this update with your members unless otherwise specified.
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