Law Society SGM

The Law Society is holding a special general meeting (SGM) on Tuesday 17 December 2013 at 10.30 am.

The meeting was called to consider a motion of no confidence in the Law Society’s leadership after 118 criminal defence lawyers questioned their actions to influence Government policy on cuts to criminal legal aid.

On 5 September the Lord Chancellor announced he had reached an agreement with the Law Society on revised proposals for cuts to criminal legal aid. He announced a new consultation on the cuts: “Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps” which set out proposals that included a cut to fees for criminal legal aid work of 17.5% and a reduction in the number of firms permitted to undertake duty solicitor work. You can read more about the consultation and YLAL’s response here.

The Law Society has not released details of any agreement with the Lord Chancellor but has set out its concerns regarding the new proposals in its response to the consultation.

The criminal solicitors behind the motion of no confidence in the Law Society leadership would like the motion to underline their opposition to the Lord Chancellor’s proposals, bring about greater transparency and accountability in Law Society decision making and encourage the Law Society to make the political and economic case against the Government’s proposals.

The Law Society Council has concerns that this challenge will weaken the effectiveness of the Law Society as a representative voice and states that requiring it to seek a mandate from members directly affected by decisions on every occasion would substantially change its democratic structures and governance.

The meeting is at 10.30 am on Tuesday 17 December at the Law Society, Chancery Lane. All Law Society members (i.e. qualified solicitors on the roll) may attend and vote. Pre-registration has now closed but society members can still attend from 9 am on the day. If you would like to attend it is recommended that you bring your SRA card and photo ID to speed up the process of checking against the roll of solicitors.

There is more information on the Law Society website here.