Law Society of England and Wales
|Formation||2 June 1825|
|England and Wales|
|This article is part of the series: Courts of England and Wales|
|Law of England and Wales|
The Law Society of England and Wales (officially The Law Society) is the professional association that represents and governs the lawyers' profession for the jurisdiction of England and Wales. It provides services and support to practising and training lawyers 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.
A president is elected annually to serve for one year. The current president is Joe Egan.
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 July 2013, the Association of Women Solicitors (AWS), a national organisation working with and representing women solicitors in the United Kingdom, merged with the Law Society to form its Women Lawyers Division. Although merged, the AWS will operate separately from the Law Society.
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. Complaints regarding the conduct of solicitors are now dealt with by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). However complaints regarding poor service are the remit of 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 Ombudsman which is 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 Sir Michael Pitt, a government appointee) oversees all the approved regulators including the Bar Council, which has also divested its regulatory functions into the Bar Standards Board.
- 2016–17 Robert Henry Glanville Bourns, DL
- 2015–16 Jonathan Robert Saville Smithers
- 2014–15 Andrew Howard Arthur Caplen
- 2013–14 Nicholas Peter Fluck
- 2012–13 Lucy Ann Scott-Moncrieff (later CBE)
- 2011–12 John Prier Wotton
- 2010–11 Linda Karen Hadfield Lee
- 2009–10 Robert Alan Heslett
- 2008–09 Paul Henry Marsh
- 2007–08 William Andrew Myers Holroyd (later CBE)
- 2006–07 Catherine Fiona Woolf (later DBE)
- 2005–06 Kevin Joseph Martin
- 2004–05 Edward Nally
- 2003–04 Peter John Williamson
- 2002–03 Carolyn Kirby
- 2001–02 David Angus McIntosh
- 2000–01 Thomas Michael Napier
- 1999–2000 Robert Sayer
- 1998–99 Michael Robert Mathews
- 1997–98 Phillip Sycamore
- 1996–97 John Anthony Girling
- 1995–96 Martin John Patrick Mears
- 1994–95 Richard Charles Elly, FRSA, DL
- 1993–94 Rodger John Pannone, DL
- 1992–93 Mark Hebberton Sheldon (later CBE)
- 1991–92 Philip Thomas Ely (later OBE)
- 1990–91 John Anthony Holland (later knighted)
- 1989–90 David Ward
- 1988–89 Sir Richard Kennedy Harvey Gaskell
- 1987–88 Sir John Derek Richardson Bradbeer, OBE, TD
- 1986–87 Sir John Michael Wickerson
- 1985–86 Sir Colin Alan Bettridge Leslie
- 1984–85 Sir Arthur Hugh Hoole
- 1983–84 Sir Christopher Raynor Hewetson
- 1982–83 Sir William Maxwell Harries Williams
- 1981–82 Sir Denis Alfred Marshall
- 1980–81 Sir Jonathan Dennis Clarke
- 1979–80 Sir John Chalmer Stebbings
- 1978–79 Sir John Chance Palmer
- 1977–78 Sir Richard Kenneth Denby
- 1976–77 Sir David Napley
- 1975–76 Sir Edmund Naylor Liggins, TD
- 1974–75 Sir Edward Henry Sibbald Singleton
- 1973–74 Sir Martin Llewellyn Edwards
- 1972–73 Sir Desmond Heap
- 1971–72 Sir William Oscar Carter
- 1970–71 Sir Godfrey William Rowland Morley, OBE, TD
- 1969–70 Sir Robert Frederick Payne
- 1968–69 Sir Henry Edmund Sargant
- 1967–68 Sir John Renwick, JP
- 1966–67 Sir Charles Hilary Scott
- 1965–66 Sir Derek Percy Hilton, MBE
- 1964–65 Sir Robert John Formby Burrows
- 1963–64 Sir Ronald Long
- 1962–63 Sir Henry Brailsford Lawson
- 1961–62 Sir Arthur John Driver
- 1960–61 Colonel Sir Denys Theodore Hicks
- 1959–60 Sir Sydney Charles Thomas Littlewood
- 1958–59 Sir Leslie Ernest Peppiatt
- 1957–58 Sir Ian David Yeaman
- 1956–57 Edwin Herbert, Baron Tangley
- 1955–56 Sir Walter Charles Norton
- 1954–55 Frederic Hubert Jessop
- 1953–54 Sir William Charles Crocker
- 1952–53 Sir Dingwall Latham Bateson
- 1951–52 Sir Geoffrey Abdy Collins
- 1933–34 Sir Reginald Ward Poole
- 1930–31 Sir John Roger Burrow Gregory
- fl. 1928 Sir Cecil Coward
- 1904–05 Thomas Rawle
- 1902–03 Sir Albert Rollit
- 1901–02 Sir Henry Fowler
- 1891–92 William Melmoth Walters
- Arthur Melmoth Walters
- Law Society Gazette
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Legal Complaints Service
- Law Society of Scotland
- Law Society of Northern Ireland
- Law Society Press Release
- Law Society Royal Charters Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- Law Society Website History Section Archived 27 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
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- "Andrew Holroyd, OBE". Liverpool John Moores University. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Fiona Woolf". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "The Modern President". Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Law Society Biographies" (PDF). 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.
- "No. 33390". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1928. p. 3846.
- "Court Circular". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 9.
- "The Law Society". The Times (36752). London. 26 April 1902. p. 8.