Law Society London & SE Relationship Management Team Weekly Update – 12th March 2021

12th March 2021

The Law Society are keen to ensure that key updates and information of relevance are communicated to local law societies periodically.

International Women’s Day – Covid poll 

To mark international women’s day, our D&I team have launched a short poll to gather how the pandemic has impacted women and women’s equality within the legal profession.

Please share your thoughts and experiences and circulate this to your wider membership:  https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/women-lawyers/how-has-the-covid-19-pandemic-impacted-you

Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) 

Applications for the Diversity Access Scheme 2021 are now open. This year, the DAS will be offering funding for either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

The DAS supports talented and tenacious aspiring solicitors from less advantaged backgrounds. It provides funding, work experience and mentoring for successful applicants. Each place includes:

  • A bursary to fund LPC
  • Work experience
  • Mentoring support

Find out more
Application guidance
Eligibility criteria 

Deadline for applications is Sunday 25 April 2021. 

Policy Committee vacancies

We have vacancies in our Policy and Regulatory Affairs (PRAC) sub-committees.

PRAC committees give advice and guidance to the Law Society on policy, practice and procedure in their specialist areas. Membership is made up of practitioners (mainly but not exclusively solicitors) who are experts in their field.

We appoint new members to our 25 policy and regulatory committees every year. Committee members are appointed for three-year terms, with the potential to renew their terms.

The following committees currently have vacancies:

Committee Number of CM* vacancies Number of NCM* vacancies
Access to Justice 2 0
Children’s Law 1 0
Civil Justice 0 2
Company Law 0 3
Conveyancing & Land Law 0 1
Criminal Law 0 6
Education & Training 1 1
European Union 1 2
Housing Law 1 1
Human Rights 0 2
Immigration Law 1 0
International 1 2
Mental Health & Disability 0 3
Planning & Environmental Law 1 0
Professional Indemnity Insurance 0 1
Professional Standards & Ethics 1 3
Regulatory Processes 1 1
Tax Law 0 4
Technology & Law 0 3
Wales 0 1
Wills & Equity Committee 2 1

*council members, seats are reserved for council members in the first instance.
**non-council members, seats are open to all members of the profession.

Roles are open to all members of the profession.

Membership on a committee provides an opportunity to make a leading contribution to law reform and the development of legal practice in a specialist area.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 15 March 2021. Please visit our webpage for more information and how to apply.

Open Consultations

The Independent Review of Real Estate Investment Valuations – closing date 31 March 2021
RICS
The independent Review of Real Estate Investment Valuations (rics.org)

This independent review will examine the way valuations of property assets for investment purposes are conducted. The Chair of the RICS Standards & Regulation Board has also appointed an expert advisory group to support the review. The review will gather evidence on the below four key areas before delivering recommendations to RICS by September 2021:

– Valuation methodology
– Property risk analysis (also known as the ‘forward look’)
– Independence and objectivity
– Measuring market confidence in RICS valuer performance

We are unlikely to respond to this consultation as it does not primarily concern solicitors and the key stakeholders being consulted are valuers.  Any response will be led by CLLC.

Guideline Hourly Rates – closing date 31 March 2021
Civil Justice Council
Link to consultation

Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) are used to assist judges in making an assessment of costs in the civil courts. They are used as a guideline to the rates charged for different types of fee earners, not just solicitors. The current GHR have been set according to which region in England and Wales the work is carried out in, and the level of experience of the fee earner.

However, the rates have not been updated since 2010, which has led to judges beginning to agree to costs that are significantly veering away from the GHR. A working group of the Civil Justice Council carried out a data collection and analysis exercise towards the end of 2020 with a view to proposing new GHR.  These proposed new rates have been published as part of the consultation and the Civil Justice Council is asking for feedback on the methodology used to determine the GHR, as well as the proposed GHR.

The Civil Justice Committee will lead on the response.
Reforming the Mental Health Act – closing date 21 April 2021
Department of Health and Social Care
Link to consultation

Following the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, the Government has published a White Paper detailing plans for legislative and policy reform. It is seeking feedback on proposed changes to improve care for people who are detained under the Mental Health Act.

The Mental Health and Disability Committee will lead on the response.

If you have any questions about any of the above please get in touch.