Legal Aid

BBC Radio Vanessa Feltz Show, Yorkshire Post, p7, The Times, p4

Joy Merriam, chair of the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee, challenged Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes over the impact of LASPO and court closures while speaking on the BBC’s Vanessa Feltz show this morning. The programme will be available on the BBC iPlayer catch up this afternoon.

In the Yorkshire Post, Marilyn Stowe, the senior partner at Stowe Family Law, said efforts to offer mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution are not popular with the public. “Even though legal aid is available in divorce cases for mediation, there has been a 38 per cent drop in the number of cases resolved this way.

“My answer is family arbitration. Currently available only for financial disputes, it could easily extend to child cases too,” she adds.

The Times reports that the chairman of the Bar Council said that the fall in civil litigation in the wake of legal aid cuts was worse than the government had predicted.

Nicholas Lavender, QC, is quoted: : “Legal aid provided help in 205,617 new family cases in 2012/13 but only 42,798 in 2013/14.” He said that the number of social welfare cases that got legal aid had fallen 80 per cent since 2009/10.

Meanwhile, a barrister has bemoaned the “decline of humility” in the legal profession, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Ian Glen QC said “liberal advertising regulations” and “micro specialisation “had encouraged “self-promotion”. He said, “worst of all”, some barristers seemed to believe their own publicity and measured success in money terms, he added.

Mr Glen, a barrister for 35 years, said that had led to “exaggerated claims” on the legal aid fund.

Vanessa Feltz Show


Solicitors Journal

New guidance issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will allow paralegals who have passed a legal practice course (LPC) to qualify as solicitors without having to complete a formal  training contract, reports Solicitors Journal.

A spokesperson for the Law Society commented that the SRA did not “appear to have consulted about this change of approach [in training]. It remains unclear about exactly how it  will work”.

Information on equivalent means to access to the profession was last updated on the SRA website on 30 July 2014. It says that the equivalent means prescription “allows [the SRA] to recognise that the knowledge and skills outcomes (and the standard at which they must be acquired) may have been achieved by an individual through other assessed learning and work based learning. Where this is the case, we may grant exemption from all or part of the academic or vocational stages.”

The Law Society commented that although the change was part of the SRA’s Training forTomorrow regulatory reform, it has yet to consult stakeholders on any specified details.

Mark Stobbs, director of legal policy at the Law Society, told Solicitors Journal: “We support flexible routes to qualification. But we question whether many paralegals will be able to satisfy the new requirements. It is important the SRA consults properly on any significant changes to ensure that standards are maintained.”

Solicitors Journal

Excellence Awards

Midlands Business News, Blackpool Gazette

Further reports on firms and individuals who are finalists in this year’s Law Society Excellence Awards.

Alwyn Jones, a director at Nottingham firm Cartwright King, is shortlisted in the Solicitor Advocate of the Year category at the Law Society Excellence Awards.

The awards, which will be held on 9th October in London, recognise the best legal work carried out by law firms and individuals across in the country.

Cartwright King’s managing director Rupert Hawke said: “We are pleased to announce Alwyn’s inclusion in this highly prestigious shortlist.  The Law Society Excellence Awards are the most respected awards in the industry and for the judging panel to recognise Alywn’s achievements is testament to the outstanding work he has done throughout his career.

Meanwhile, the Blackpool Gazette describes the awards as the ‘industry Oscars’.

Midlands Business News

Blackpool Gazette

Law Society consumer campaign

Manchester Law Society News

News that the Law Society is launching its consumer campaign on 1 September.

The campaign will use PR, social media, advertising and video to highlight the value solicitors offer to private clients and SMEs, driving more people to our Find A Solicitor website and helping attract new clients for members.

This year’s campaign focuses on six areas of law: conveyancing, wills and probate, family law, criminal law, business law and personal injury. Solicitors are advised to get in touch with the Law Society to find out more and obtain free campaign materials to help promote their services.



Darlington & Stockton Times, p24

News that BHP Law has become the latest firm to join the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.

Social media summary

Andrew Caplen’s ABA speeches

@TheLawSociety: “Legal privilege must be protected from any system of surveillance” – Andrew Caplen at #ABAannual #datasurveillance http://bit.ly/1BdlSul

Free CPD

@LSCPDCentre: FREE CPD! View our new webinar designed to assist women lawyers in preparing for and returning from maternity leave. http://tinyurl.com/o9yxprk

Excellence Awards

@ALEP: Congratulations to ALEP member @brethertonsllp: Shortlisted for two awards at the @TheLawSociety Excellence Awards 2014 #lawsocawards

@Brethertonsllp: We’re thrilled to be shortlisted for two awards at the @TheLawSociety Excellence Awards 2014 breth.co/20b #lawsocawards

Catherine Reed, Senior Press Officer – Ext 4678 – catherine.reed@lawsociety.org.uk

Rebecca Kiernan, Junior Press Officer – Ext 4667 –rebecca.kiernan@lawsociety.org.uk

James Hotson, Media Relations Manager – Ext 4760 –james.hotson@lawsociety.org.uk

Katy Durrans, Assistant Press Officer – Ext 4667 – katy.durrans@lawsociety.org.uk