The Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are locked in a turf war over the appointment process for the SRA board.
The Law Society is managing the appointment of a new chair and board members and has two places on the five-member appointments panel. Despite its being the SRA’s board, the regulatory body has no input.
An SRA source said: “If lawyers appoint everyone on their regulatory body, how can it be independent? We’d be doing it if this was a truly independent body.”
The SRA had sent a letter to the Law Society outlining its concerns, but this failed to change the process.
SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said: “The Law Society should have an involvement on behalf of the profession, but not dominate the process. It’s important that representative issues don’t dominate regulatory arrangements – it’s a question of public credibility.”
The Law Society defended its position. Director of government relations Russell Wallman said: “It would be wrong [for the SRA] to appoint its own successor. But we need to carry it out in a way that doesn’t just allow for us to pick our friends.”
The line-up of the board is expected to be announced by July.