Law Society gets more power

The Government has finally granted the Law Society the extra powers it needs to investigate unscrupulous lawyers more effectively.
Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department Geoff Hoon revealed the concession as the Access to Justice Bill went through its second reading in the Commons.
After outlining a number of amendments which the Government plans for the Bill, he said: “We are also prepared to grant the Law Society's request for additional powers.
“Those will, in particular, enable the Law Society to play its part in controlling unscrupulous immigration advisers.”
The new powers will allow the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) to enter law firms and inspect files – not just a firm's accounts – if it suspects wrong-doing.
Law Society vice-president Robert Sayer says the OSS and the Law Society have been lobbying for these powers for several years.
He says OSS investigators have been “working with their hands tied behind their backs”, because they have to rely on the Legal Aid Board or the police to unearth evidence.
“The vast majority of solicitors are honest and we don't like those who are queering our pitch. If these powers are used to deal with those letting the side down, then that's great,” he adds.