October is a particularly busy month at Chancery Lane – the end of the party’s conference season, the return of the British parliament after the summer, the opening of the legal year and then a series of key meetings: from our board, our AGM, the investiture of office holders and the arrival and departure of council members after the elections.
This year, 31 board members left – some of whom had accumulated almost as many years of service to the profession on the governing body of the Bar. We pay tribute to each of them, thanking them for their commitment.
At the last AGM, members voted in favor of a 12-year board term limit and going forward, each year approximately one-third of the members will be elected to the 100-member body. A welcome was reserved for all new to the board.
This year, the AGM voted to express members’ concern over the possible closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF).
This followed a motion in which the board said the Law Society remained committed to working with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to facilitate the expansion of SIF, arguing that it is in the best interests of the profession and the general public that protection insurance is maintained beyond the compulsory liquidation period of six years.
One of the key moments of the October council meeting is the adoption of the Bar budget – like any organization, following the Covid and in the face of the effects of Brexit, the purse strings will tighten in the coming years. month.
We are keenly aware of the pressure on businesses and members, so we have worked hard to keep our members’ certificate of practice fees (PC fees) low – this includes four years of fixed fees and a reduction of 3 million pounds of our revenue in the last round so that we can offer a reduction in PC fees to our members.
Outgoing CEO Paul Tennant presented his report reminding the board that as part of our business plan for the year, we have focused on three main themes:
Promote a modern, diverse and inclusive profession; promote access to justice; and support members in these difficult and unpredictable times.
The key to promoting a diverse profession is good data and a working group meeting was held where it was agreed that this would be a goal to help boost social mobility. Targets are also being considered by some of the larger companies, including in the city.
During this time, Paul was able to tell the board that when it comes to the international practice of law, we have had nine extremely active months. We launched the second phase of the Global Legal Center campaign and hosted a virtual roundtable to discuss promoting the UK as a legal center. We have also produced a document on alternative measures to secure the future of legal services between the UK and the EU, in case the UK gets stuck in Lugano.
Regarding the rule of law, key highlights included the promotion of measures to improve judicial diversity and influence a more strategic approach to legal education of the public by policymakers, as well as reform of the law on mental health and abilities.
Regarding regulation and anti-money laundering (AML), we continued to provide members with advice on risk and compliance, including masterclasses on ethics and AML conference preparations. are in class.
Our work on diversity and inclusion (D&I) was the subject of a separate report to the board that detailed some of the activities around LGBT + History Month when we launched a survey to better understand lawyers’ experiences. LGBT + and their allies.
We also co-hosted a virtual conference on diversity and inclusion with the Leeds Law Society – the second such event.
In another partnership, this time with Cardiff Business School and the Legally Disabled Project, we have published guidance on the basic requirements of the duty of reasonable adjustment and best practices on how to implement adjustments.
Throughout Black History Month, we share a range of content and communications for members.
The Council also discussed climate change and agreed to develop a formal resolution outlining its position ahead of COP26.
Following an election earlier this year, our roster of incumbents was officially launched. I. Stephanie Boyce as President, Lubna Shuja as Vice President and Nick Emmerson as Assistant Vice President. We look forward to the next 12 months.