Law firm’s High Court challenge

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A YORKSHIRE law firm is taking the Law Society to the High Court to challenge its decision to establish a separate regulatory body.

John Wilson, the founder of Wilsons Solicitors, is fighting the Law Society’s decision to establish the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

A spokesman for Wilsons Solicitors, which has five offices in Leeds and Bradford, said: “The firm asks how it can be called the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority when it is not a firm of solicitors, because it’s a bureaucracy, it has no powers of regulation, because the Law Society has them, and it has no authority, because only Parliament can confer that.

“The legal position is that the regulator is the Law Society and the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority is merely an agency.”

Mr Wilson, who will be representing the firm when it takes the Law Society to the High Court, believes there will be other solicitors who disagree with the actions of the Law Society.

He said: “It went to the High Court last October before Mr Justice Ousely and a date has to be fixed for a hearing, which could last a day and a half.”

A Law Society spokesman said: “When the Legal Services Act became law the Law Society was required to create a separate regulatory arm by law.

“This happened when the Act was passed some five years ago. That regulatory arm’s decision-making powers are independent of the Law Society Coun- cil.

“No members of the Law Society Council can sit on the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority board, nor does the council have any say in or influence over Solicitors’ Regulation Authority regulatory decisions.”

The spokesman highlighted the fact that the description appended to letters sent out on behalf of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority makes it plain that they are part of the Law Society.

The title also makes it clear that the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority has a different role as the regulatory body to the Law Society, the spokesman added.