Law Soc dismisses SRA meddling claim

Incoming Law Society president Bob Heslett has hit back at claims that the body is interfering with the regulatory remit of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

It comes after SRA chief executive Antony Townsend lambasted the Law Society for dominating the SRA selection process.

In June Townsend told The Lawyer: “It’s important that representative issues don’t ­dominate regulatory arrangements – it’s a question of public credibility.” (The Lawyer, 22 June.)

Responding, Heslett said: “There are no grounds to say that the SRA doesn’t operate independently. That’s past history. We want to look ahead as the
new board is appointed.”

The Law Society put together a committee to select the next chair of the SRA, Herbert Smith ­consultant Charles Plant (The Lawyer, 22 June). Plant will now chair a four-person appointments panel, which will include one Law ­Society member.

“We’ve had four years of experience where everybody’s learnt lessons from the past,” Heslett said. “It’s impeccable timing now to have a new board to face the challenges coming our way.”

Last year the Law Society commissioned Lord David Hunt to examine the regulatory remit of the SRA and whether there should be a separate unit to regulate City firms (The Lawyer, 16 October 2008).