Law Society chief announces retirement amid mounting crime solicitor pressure

Law Society chief executive Des Hudson is to stand down this summer, the solicitors’ representative body announced today.

Des Hudson
Des Hudson

The announcement follows mounting pressure from criminal law solicitors for Hudson to resign over what they view as the society’s ineffective defence of legal aid rates in the face of government cuts (14 March 2014).

A Chancery Lane statement said Hudson would retire at the society’s annual general meeting in July after eight years in the top role (21 April 2006). In the statement, Hudson said he decided as long as a year ago to leave the Law Society this summer.

Liverpool-based criminal law solicitor James Parry, who has led the campaign to remove both Hudson and Law Society president Nicholas Fluck, said: “This is a welcome development, but it would have been better if the decision had been taken far earlier, allowing the Law Society to mount a reasonable defence of legal aid.”

Parry called on the society to appoint a successor who “will assist solicitors in mounting an effective and sustainable campaign to protect both civil and criminal legal aid, and make up for a lot of time that has been lost.”

Parry is currently raising a petition for a special general meeting of the society calling on Fluck and Hudson to resign or be sacked. He told The Lawyer this morning that despite Hudson’s move, Fluck should still resign. “It’s time for a new broom to sweep clean at the top of the Law Society,” he said.

In a statement, Hudson said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Law Society during this time of change for the legal profession and I look forward to continuing to do so until I depart. I would particularly like to thank my colleagues and our volunteer community within the society for the support and guidance they have given me over the years. I’m indebted to them and proud of what we have achieved together.”