BLA official complaint over Regis debacle taken to OSS

The British Legal Association despatched an official complaint to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors over the alleged mismanagement of the Regis computer project.

In what is believed to be a first in the history of the Law Society, the BLA has written to OSS asking it to investigate the handling of Regis by “members of the management board during the period of January 1995 onwards” and to confirm that disciplinary action will be taken “for any breaches of the Solicitors' Practice Rules in relation to their conduct as solicitors”.

Although the society's council condemned staff's “perceived lack of disclosure of relevant information” last December, nobody was disciplined. Law Society president Tony Girling has said the allegations should be understood in the context of society relations at the time.

The BLA is basing its complaint on an unofficial supplementary Regis report, which was written by deputy treasurer Robert Sayer and issued to Society council members last December.

The report alleged that certain members of staff, including former secretary general John Hayes and former director of management planning Jane Hern, were aware of the difficulties, but failed to inform the office-holders and the council.

Both have since left the Law Society. Hayes, now the chair of the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority, said he would be happy to respond to any request for information made by the OSS.

Hern, now registrar designate at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said she would not comment at this stage.

Staff involved in Regis are adamant that the society's internal procedures were never breached, a fact which was confirmed in a society inquiry into Regis.