Kent legal chief: Govt lawyers should shell out for certificates

Kent County Council legal chief Geoff Wild has hit out at a campaign to reduce practising certificate fees for local government lawyers.

Kent County Council legal chief Geoff Wild has hit out at a campaign to reduce practising certificate fees for local government lawyers.

Writing for TheLawyer. com, Wild argued that, rather than centring on reducing local council fees, the debate should focus on getting central government solicitors to pay up and “reduce the burden on the rest of the profession”.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority charges local council lawyers the full rate for practising certificates, whereas Government solicitors get a statutory exemption.

The Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors, led by Birmingham City Council’s Mirza Ahmed, is calling for a significant reduction in rates (The Lawyer, 16 March).

Wild said: “The ­argument should instead be in support of central government solicitors paying practising certificate fees, coming into line with their fellow practitioners.

“The blunt truth is that the Government is getting solicitors on the cheap, or solicitors in government service are getting their opportunity to be solicitors on the cheap. The rest of the profession thinks some protectionism is going on, which isn’t good.”

He also argued that the exemption gave the impression that the lawyers who benefitted from it were “second-class solicitors”.