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Law Society chief executive Des Hudson has been called as a key witness to defend his body’s decision to award £350,000 to miners amid claims that the regulator has a conflict of interest and should not be judging any of the firms involved in the saga.
Yorkshire-based solicitors Raleys has claimed that the Law Society’s regulatory arm should not be the prosecutor over the coal miners’ compensation saga as it has a financial interest in finding law firms guilty of misconduct.
Hudson said that underwriting the miners’ awards had not had any impact on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) judgment, as the decision to make the awards came after proceedings had started against the Barnsleyheadquartered firm.
Jeremy Morgan QC of 39 Essex Street, acting for Raleys, told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last week (12 May) that the SRA wanted to find law firms professionally inadequate to reap back cash it had paid to miners before finding the actual solicitors culpable.
Hudson stated that in his view the miner litigation had represented solicitors in a poor light and had created reputation problems for the profession.
The tribunal found in favour of the Law Society. Raleys senior partner Ian Firth said: “It’s frustrating we have to wait so long for the case to be heard… [but] it does give us more time to strengthen our defence against what we consider to be invalid accusations.”