Ackner narrowly loses fees revolt

THE LORD Chancellor is likely to receive two separate reports giving contrary advice on the rights of audience for employed solicitors, both from the same organisation.

The 17-member Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (Aclec) has informed the Law Society that, by a “small majority” of nine to eight, it opposes the application and will inform Lord Mackay this week.

But the Law Society understands the minority group will also submit its own report supporting the society's position.

Aclec was unable to confirm the position last week, but indicated there could be an announcement this week.

Lord Steyn, Aclec chair, informed the Law Society in a letter on 15 May of Aclec's stance and added: “The committee does not believe that it would be appropriate to consider any new amendments to the application.”

Law Society president Charles Elly, in an angry response on 18 May, said that the minority group would approve the society application subject to amendments which it has already proposed in December.

On this basis, Elly stressed that the society would supply Aclec with its amendments and would formally request Aclec, under Courts and Legal Services Act procedures, to consider them.

After notifying Aclec, the Law Society will have to make its amendments at the next council meeting which is scheduled for July.