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A LEADING legal academic is demanding an Office of Fair Trading inquiry into the relationship between the Law Society and the College of Law.
Professor Nigel Savage, the Dean of Nottingham Law School, claims the Law Society cannot act as an effective independent regulator of the Legal Practice Course while its highest office holders are all governors of the College of Law.
"I can think of no other area of activity where a major provider of a service in a market would be permitted to have its governors sitting on the regulatory body for that service," Savage says.
"For a regulator, independence must be paramount. The issue cannot be brushed aside any longer."
Maurice Cook, head of the LPC course at the University of Central England in Birmingham says Savage fails to explain why the connection between the society and the College of Law should be damaging to rival institutions.
"The Law Society monitors the LPC through external examiners quite independent of the society," Cook says.
"Once a year each institution receives a visit from the assessment panel. Again, this panel is quite independent of the Law Society."
But he agrees with Savage that the market for the LPC course can only contract.