Law Society of Northern Ireland
|Formation||10 July 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.
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
The Society operates through an elected Council of thirty members, all practising solicitors who serve on a voluntary basis. The Society employs qualified solicitors and chartered accountants to carry out the administrative role of the Society. The Society's role is to regulate and to provide a service for its members.
Regulation of solicitors includes the annual issue of a Practising Certificate to each solicitor. This certificate entitles the solicitor to hold himself or herself out as a solicitor entitled to practice in Northern Ireland. The Society has a dedicated department, which handles complaints by clients against solicitors.
Over the years the Society has contributed to draft legislation and frequently comments on proposed changes to the law including the impact of the changes on solicitors, their clients and the community. It has defended legal aid as a key part of democracy and, in 2015, attempted to new legal aid rules quashed by the High Court.
In 2010, the Society welcomed the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Since then the Society's Presidential and Chief Executive team has met regularly with the Minister for Justice, David Ford MLA and the Department of Justice in relation to a number of pressing issues affecting the solicitor profession and their clients.
The Law Society Presidential and Chief Executive team consists of the President, Senior Vice President, Junior President and Chief Executive.
The Presidential and Chief Executive team for 2016/2017 were appointed on Wednesday 30 November 2016. The new Presidential team are as follows:
- President — Ian Huddleston
- Senior Vice President — John Guerin
- Junior Vice President — Eileen Ewing
- Chief Executive and Registrar — Alan Hunter
Chief executive and senior management team
The Chief Executive of the Law Society is Mr 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
- "John Guerin becomes president of Law Society of Northern Ireland". Irish Legal News. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Law Society NI defends legal aid against 'bottomless pit' claim". Irish Legal News. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Mixed feelings as judge refuses to quash NI legal aid fee rules". Irish Legal News. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Official website
- [@LawSociety_NI Twitter account]