Law Soc chief quits over 'witch-hunt'

The chairman of the Law Society's Compliance and Supervision Committee has resigned his chair and council seat following the suspension of Office for

the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) boss Peter Ross.

Sources say Howard Hardy was “disgusted” at the “witch-hunt” of Ross and

his team and felt compelled to stand down both from the committee, which

oversees the work of the OSS, and the council.

Ross was suspended last week on full pay from his u74,000-a-year post

pending investigation into why letters – warning complainants that they may

have to wait a year before their complaints are dealt with – were sent out

without society approval.

The Law Society's secretary-general Jane Betts has taken over management

of the OSS, which still has a backlog of 25,000 complaints. Hardy was

unavailable for comment but one source says: “Whether Ross's suspension was

justified is another issue, but I think Howard, being a loyal council

member who chaired this committee, felt he should stand by Ross.”

Council member Tony Bogan claims Hardy's resignation will send “a shock

wave through the society”.

He says: “Here is an elected member who gives his time freely and the fact

that he felt it necessary to resign shows there is something radically

wrong within the system.”

Law Society president Robert Sayer says: “I regretfully confirm that

Howard has resigned from the council and the compliance and supervision

committee. I have invited him to meet me to discuss this issue and that

invitation remains open.