SRA names Herbies consultant as next chair

Herbert Smith consultant Charles Plant has been appointed as the next chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) board.

Plant will begin his four-year term on 1 January 2010, when current chair Peter Williamson will stand down.

Plant said: “I know that the SRA board, like other legal regulators, faces significant challenges in developing its approach to ensure that it’s an effective modern regulator of firms of all shapes and sizes, including Alternative Business Structures.

“I look forward to leading the board as it tackles those challenges, building on the work of Peter Williamson and his board from 2006.”

SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said:  “We very much look forward to working with Charles Plant on the SRA’s challenging programme of reform.”

The new chair was appointed by a committee led by former parliamentary commissioner for standards Elizabeth Filkin. The other members were Paul Marsh, Law Society management board chair Philip Hamer, master of the rolls-nominated lay member Bob Musgrove and independent external assessor Geoff Thompson.

SRA sources, including Townsend, recently spoke out on the regulator’s own lack of involvement in the SRA appointment process, in contrast with the key role taken by the Law Society (15 June 2009).

In an interview with The Lawyer Townsend said: “The Law Society should have an involvement on behalf of the profession, but not dominate the process. It’s important that representative issues don’t dominate regulatory arrangements – it’s a question of public credibility.”