Hayes to leave Law Soc in spring

Law Society secretary general John Hayes is to resign in the spring.

Hayes' departure to head a new Occupational Pensions Authority will bring to a close an unprecedented period of infighting between the society's two leading figures.

The president, Martin Mears, a staunch opponent of Hayes, said the next secretary general should be the president's “second in command” rather than the society's leading figure.

He siad Hayes was “an extremely able man who has done his best for the Law Soceity and the profession”.

But he added that ongoing tensions between the two were well known. “John Hayes' departure will ensure that this situation is resolved.”

Hayes' contract with the society was due to finish at the end of the next year. But it had been understood for several months that he would leave earlier if a new job appeared.

He siad that he had “enjoyed the privilege of working for the Law Society” and hoped there could be a smooth handover.

News of Hayes' departure met with glowing tributes from several leading society figures, including last year's president Charles Elly, who said he had been an “immense success”.

Elly, who is leading the search for a successor, predicted there would be “changes from the current job dexcription, but not matters of enormous sugnificance”.

Mears' criticisms of Hayes stemmed from his power as head of a Chancery Lane bureaucracy which he consistently attacked as cumbersome, distant and wasteful.

The hostility emerged during Mears' failed bid to te-examine SCB head Veronica Lowe's severance package, negotiated by Hayes before he took office.

Hayes is due to leave the society on 31 May.