Law Society Legal News Summary 03 May 2022

New laws in England and Wales

The Big Issue and LBC (from 2:09:55) look at a series of bills (now acts) which were given royal assent, including the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act, the Elections Act, the Health and Care Act, the Nationality and Borders Act, the Building Safety Act and the Judicial Review and Courts Act. 

These will have wide-ranging ramifications, including imposing restrictions on noisy protests, requiring voters to show ID, changes to care costs, punishing asylum seekers who arrive by boat and changes to the laws governing legal challenges to the government. 

Read our comment on the Judicial Review and Courts Act and the Nationality and Borders Act.

Human rights reform 

The Times and LBC report that next month's Queen's speech will include a proposal to overhaul the Human Rights Act. The changes could make it harder for people to avoid deportation. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said "Weakening rights for some would weaken rights for everyone."

London criminal defence solicitors demand 25% fee increase 

The GazetteBusiness Fast and Business Mayor report that the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association has revised its demand for a 15% uplift in fees and is now demanding 25%. 

I. Stephanie Boyce told the House of Commons justice select committee that the government's overall package for solicitors amounts to just 9%. 

A Law Society spokesperson told the Gazette "The 15% fee increase for criminal defence solicitors - based on the evidence of Sir Christopher Bellamy's report - is the starting point. As Sir Christopher made clear this is the bare minimum necessary to meet the costs of providing this service and keep the profession afloat after 25 years without a meaningful pay rise. More may well be needed in future."

The future of law and legal AI 

AI is poised to change the legal industry suggests Insider VoiceNews PrimerNews Logics and J News. 

We have stated that there are rapid developments in AI that will have a significant impact on the legal profession.

Bradford's female Muslim lawyers win big 

The Asian Standard praises the success of two Muslim women lawyers Sarah Khan Bashir MBE and Asma Iqbal who both recently received awards. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce chaired the judging panel for one of these awards and Sarah Khan Bashir mentions that the next president of the Law Society of England and Wales will be Lubna Shuja, an Asian woman.

Stronger than expected pandemic performance

Our financial benchmarking survey revealed that law firms have performed better than expected during the pandemic, reports Scottish Legal News. 

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said: "Solicitor firms have demonstrated their resilience through 2020-21, using lifelines from government to retain staff and equipping them to support clients from outside traditional office environments. 

"This survey highlights the range of vital activity, economic and social, which solicitors have continued to facilitate through the pandemic. It also provides insights into the drivers of success as firms look towards business in the new normal." 

Read our release

Also worth a read: 

  • Solicitor on jury service jailed for researching defendant – Gazette
  • SRA chief admits ethnicity pay gap figure is 'not acceptable' – Gazette
  • Roe v Wade: US Supreme Court may overturn abortion law, leak suggests – BBC
  • Post office workers to go on strike over pay – BBC
  • Most Britons back curbs on bosses' pay survey finds – Guardian

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