Report shows risks to independence of UK legal profession

 

A strong and vibrant legal profession is vital to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld, the Law Society said today welcoming the report of the International Bar Association (IBA) Presidential Taskforce on the independence of the legal profession.

Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon said, “A strong and vibrant legal profession is vital to ensuring that everyone has access to justice and that the rule of law is upheld. This important report identifies areas where legal independence is under attack across the world including in the UK.

“We must never take the independence of the legal profession for granted. In the UK legal professional privilege (LPP) is under attack. LPP is a cornerstone of our justice system in that it ensures a person can speak confidentially to their solicitor without the risk that confidentiality will be breached by a third party, including the State.

“The report also identifies a risk to the independence of the legal profession in the UK because the oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board (LSB), is a body of Government.  It is notable that in a recent LSB report outlining its vision of regulation this government body failed to recognise the importance of an independent legal profession, which if lost would undermine the very fabric of our society and our ability to maintain the rule of law.

“It is imperative in this context, and in light of the many threats to legal independence around the world, that the legal profession stands together. We cannot be complacent, and we must continue to fight to ensure the survival of strong, vibrant independent legal professions around the world.”

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