Law Society of Northern Ireland
|Formation||10 January 1922|
|Headquarters||96 Victoria Street, Belfast|
The Incorporated Law Society of Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Law Society of Northern Ireland, is a professional body established by Royal Charter granted on 10 July 1922 and whose powers and duties are to regulate the solicitors' profession in Northern Ireland with the aim of protecting the public. It is headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital city.
Under the Solicitors (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, the Law Society acts as the regulatory authority governing the education, accounts, discipline and professional conduct of solicitors in order to maintain the independence, ethical standards, professional competence and quality of services offered to the public.
Governance and Role
WHO WE ARE
1. The Law Society of Northern Ireland (the Law Society) is the independent and self-funding body which governs solicitors in Northern Ireland. Our independence and self-funding ensures we remain free from influence from government and other sectional interests. 2. Established by Royal Charter in 1922, the Law Society sets and regulates professional and ethical standards for solicitors for the protection of the public. 3. Professional and ethical standards are twofold: those which relate to the quality of the legal service clients are entitled to expect from their solicitor, and those which relate to the behaviour of their solicitor. They include the propriety of solicitors’ conduct in general and the handling of client funds in particular. 4. The profession comprises some 2,700 practising solicitors in Northern Ireland. There is a wide network of over 530 solicitors’ firms in private practice at over 70 locations throughout the jurisdiction, ranging from sole practitioners to 10 or more partners or directors in larger firms. Solicitors also work in the public sector, in-house organisations and other legal employment. 5. The Law Society is an authoritative voice on justice issues and issues surrounding the administration of law and protection of the citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms. We promote the benefit of legal expertise of solicitors for the local community and business, with the added value solicitors bring in terms of commercial acumen, diversity and experience in finding solutions.
OUR LEGAL FRAMEWORK
1. The Law Society’s Royal Charter, the Solicitors’ (Northern Ireland)Order 1976, Bye Laws and Regulations set out the governance and legal framework of the Law Society. 2. The Law Society is governed by a Council of thirty elected members. The Council is headed by the President. The elected President, Senior and Junior Vice Presidents and Chief Executive comprise the Presidential Team. The President, Senior and Junior Vice Presidents hold office for a three year period. Typically, the Senior Vice President is the immediate outgoing President, and Junior Vice President the incoming President during the period. Each will have held senior positions on the Council of the Law Society before taking office. 3. The Chief Executive is the Registrar of Solicitors who has statutory power to grant Practising Certificates to those admitted to the Roll of Solicitors, upon annual application. There is statutory power to suspend a solicitor’s Practising Certificate. 4. The Chief Executive is the Secretary to the Council and principal.
The Law Society's Presidential and Chief Executive Team consists of the President, Senior Vice President, Junior President and Chief Executive.
The presidential and chief executive team for 2018/2019 were appointed on Wednesday 28 November 2018.
The new presidential team are as follows:
- President – Suzanne Rice
- Senior vice president – Eileen Ewing
- Junior vice president – Rowan White
- Chief executive and registrar – David A.Lavery CB
Chief Executive and Senior Management Team
The Chief Executive of the Law Society is Alan Hunter, who is supported by a Senior Management Team.
- 2005 – Attracta Wilson
- 2006 – Rory McShane
- 2007 – James Cooper
- 2008 – Donald Eakin
- 2009 – Barry Finlay
- 2010 – Norville Connolly
- 2011 – Brian Speers
- 2012 – Imelda McMillan
- 2013 – Michael Robinson
- 2014 – Richard Palmer
- 2015 – Arleen Elliott
- 2016 – John Guerin
- 2017 – Ian Huddleston
- 2018 – Eileen Ewing
- 2019 – Suzanne Rice
- 2020 – Rowan White
- Official website
- [@LawSociety_NI Twitter account]