City lawyers are set to pay an extra £2.3m to the Law Society if the proposed hike to practising certificate fees goes through.
The Law Society council voted earlier this month to raise the annual costof practising certificates by 31 per cent from £495 to £650 per solicitor. The move is aimed at reducing the Law Society's deficit, understood to be about £5m. The vote went through with an overwhelming majority, said Law Society chief executive Janet Paraskeva. But a 90-strong group opposed to the move, led by former president Robert Sayer, has forced the council to put it to a postal vote, which goes out within a few weeks. Also objecting to the move is Christopher Digby-Bell, Law Society council member for City lawyers. "I represent 15,000 lawyers practising in City firms, who between them will be forced to contribute an extra £2.3m to the Law Society if the reforms go through," he said. "City lawyers are unhappy about the proposed increase in the practising fee because they don't feel they get much back from the Law Society." According to Paraskeva, practising certificates have been cheaper than they should be for too long. "The cost of the practising certificate should have gone up steadily over the past 10 years, but it hasn't," she said. "Although we have so many new members, we're spending less on our services now than we did in 1991."