The Law Society
Leges Juraque Servamus("We observe the laws and ordinances")
|Formation||2 June 1825|
|Headquarters||113 Chancery Lane, City of Westminster, London|
|England and Wales|
|This article is part of the series: Courts of England and Wales|
|Law of England and Wales|
The Law Society is the professional association that represents and governs the solicitors' profession in England and Wales. It provides services and support to practising and training solicitors as well as serving as a sounding board for law reform. Members of the Society are often consulted when important issues are being debated in Parliament or by the executive. The Society was formed in 1825.
The Hall of The Law Society is at 113 Chancery Lane, London but it also has offices in Birmingham, Cardiff (to deal with the Wales jurisdiction and Assembly) and Brussels, Belgium (to deal with European Union law).
A president is elected annually to serve for a year. The current president for 2013–14 is Nicholas Fluck. Fluck narrowly lost a vote of no confidence (by fifteen votes) on 17 December 2013 for allegedly mishandling negotiations with the Lord Chancellor about proposed cuts to legal aid.
The London Law Institution, the predecessor to The Law Society, was founded in 1823 when many London Solicitors came together to raise the reputation of the profession by setting standards and ensuring good practice. 'London' was dropped from the title in 1825 to reflect the fact that the Law Institution had national aspirations.
The Society was founded on 2 June 1825, when a committee of management was appointed. The Society acquired its first Royal Charter in 1831 as The Society of Attorneys, Solicitors, Proctors and others not being Barristers, practising in the Courts of Law and Equity of the United Kingdom. A new Charter in 1845 defined the Society as an independent, private body servicing the affairs of the profession like other professional, literary and scientific bodies. By further Royal Charter in 1903 the name of the Society was changed to simply 'The Law Society'. The Society first admitted women members in 1922.
In 1834, the Society first initiated proceedings against dishonest practitioners. By 1907, the Society possessed a statutory disciplinary committee, and was empowered to investigate solicitors' accounts and to issue annual practising certificates. In 1983, the Society established the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors to deal with complaints about solicitors. This service is now the responsibility of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). If the SRA cannot resolve a complaint, it can be taken to the Legal Ombudsman.
The Solicitors Act 1860 enabled the Society to create a three-tier examination system. In 1903, the Society established its own Law Society School of Law, which later merged with tutorial firm Gibson and Weldon to become the independent College of Law. By 1922 The Law Society required a compulsory academic year for all clerks.
Regulatory body status
Following the recommendations of the Clementi Review The Law Society split its representative and regulatory functions.
Complaints from the public are handled by the Legal Complaints Service but this function will shortly pass to the Office for Legal Complaints which will be a single portal for complaints by the public made against all providers of legal services including the Bar, licensed conveyancers etc., but excluding unqualified will-writers.
The regulatory body for solicitors is the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It is a Board of The Law Society although it regulates and enforces regulation completely independently of the Law Society. The Law Society remains the approved regulator, although following the Legal Services Act 2007 a new body, the Legal Services Board (chaired by David Edmonds, a government appointee) will oversee all the approved regulators including the Bar Council, which has also divested its regulatory functions into the Bar Standards Board.
- 2013–14 Nicholas Fluck
- 2012–13 Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
- 2011–12 John Wotton
- 2010–11 Linda Karen Hadfield Lee
- 2009–10 Robert Heslett
- 2008–09 Paul Marsh
- 2007–08 Andrew Holroyd
- 2006–07 Fiona Woolf
- 2005–06 Kevin Martin
- 2004–05 Edward Nally
- 2003–04 Peter Williamson
- 2002–03 Carolyn Kirby
- 2001–02 David McIntosh
- 2000–01 Michael Napier
- 1999–2000 Robert Sayer
- 1998–99 Michael Mathews
- 1930 Sir John Roger Burrow Gregory
- 1904 Thomas Rawle
- Dingwall Latham Bateson
- Albert Rollit
- Arthur Melmoth Walters
- 1891 William Melmoth Walters
- Law Society
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Legal Complaints Service
- The Law Society of Scotland
- The Incorporated Law Society of Northern Ireland
- The Law Society Homepage
- The Law Society's Guide to Choosing a Solicitor
- Webpages of Law Society Council Members: Civil Litigation – Lancashire
- Legalfutures.co.uk "Solicitors pass motion of no-confidence in Law Society president and chief executive." Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- The Lawyer "Law Society leadership in chaos as solicitors pass no-confidence vote." Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Law Society Royal Charters
- Law Society Website History Section
- "Chief Executive and Office Holders". The Law Society. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society welcomes 'virtual lawyer' Lucy Scott-Moncrieff as new president". The Law Society. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award: John Wotton". Legalweek.com. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "RadcliffesLe Brasseur". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Presidents making history in Birmingham". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society of England and Wales President to visit University". University of Wolverhampton. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Andrew Holroyd, OBE". Liverpool John Moores University. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Fiona Woolf". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "The Modern President". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society Biographies". Law Society. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society chief 'was left shaking after outburst'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society aims to have MDPs operating by 2000". The Lawyer. Retrieved 22 August 2013.