Peer attacks Mackay's 'delays'

LORD Mackay has made a thinly-veiled plea for patience in response to a volley of parliamentary questions about his alleged “delays” in reaching a decision over higher court rights of audience for employed solicitors.

In a written answer to the latest of three questions tabled by Lord Ackner on the issue, the Lord Chancellor said the Law Society's application for employed solicitors to be allowed extended rights of audience raised “complex and contentious issues”. He said it would “inevitably” take him some time to reach a decision.

Ackner, a staunch opponent of higher court rights for in-house lawyers, had called for an explanation for the Lord Chancellor's “continuing delays” in reaching a decision.

The questions are a clear indication of his impatience at the time it has taken Mackay to make up his mind since the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (Aclec) issued its advice on the subject last summer. Ackner wants Mackay to accept the committee's majority advice that the application be refused.

The Law Society has threatened judicial review if Aclec's minority advice – that the application should be accepted – is ignored.