New Law Soc president labels Falconer “naive”

Law Society president Fiona Woolf has hit out at the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, over the draft Legal Services Bill and the powers it gives to the new umbrella regulator.

Speaking to The Lawyer, Woolf said: “For the Lord Chancellor to suggest to me that the Legal Services Board would not use its powers is naïve in the extreme.”

She said that new regulators will always find ways of using their powers, even if they are designed as overarching bodies.

The Legal Services Board would be established under the new legislation to oversee work done by the Bar Council, the Law Society and other legal professional bodies.

In June, Woolf gave evidence to the joint Parliamentary select committee scrutinising the new legislation, where the Law Society said that the proposals undermine the independence of the profession.

The committee, led by Lord Hunt of Wirral, is due to report next Tuesday (25 July), after having interviewed a wide range of organisations and individuals about the draft Bill.

* For the full Fiona Woolf interview, see next Monday’s edition of The Lawyer (July 24).