Orchard gets personal at conference

A SOLICITOR who was insulted by Legal Aid Board head Steve Orchard at a conference has questioned the chief executive's ability to run the board.

Orchard claimed that what Roy Douglas said at the Legal Action Group conference last week “came out of an orifice and it wasn't between his ears”. But he was forced to retract the comment afterwards.

He made the remark after Douglas, of Douglas & Partners in Bristol, alleged the board assured lawyers franchising would not lead to exclusive block contracts. Orchard said he gave no such assurances and accused Douglas of lying.

Douglas says: “I would not expect a man in his position to resort to such language over something that I genuinely felt.”

LAB chair Sir Tim Chessells says: “We think it's a storm in a teacup. Stephen Orchard is a very successful chief executive.”