President’s report – Sussex Law Society Meeting

I attended and chaired the biannual Sussex Law Society Meeting on 30th January 2012 in Lewes. This meeting was attended by presidents and other office holders from the various local Law Societies across West and East Sussex.

During the meeting we discussed the various challenges which the profession currently faces. Jonathan Smithers, chairman of the national Law Society Conveyancing Committee, was able to update us as to developments with regard to the HSBC’s new panel arrangements. HSBC have decided to limit their panel of solicitors to 43 firms across the country, thereby severely limiting customer choice. Jonathan encouraged firms and local law societies to contact their local MP to draw attention to the issue and assured everyone that the Law Society is doing what it can to respond to this issue.

Discussion also focused on the first batch of applications for alternative business structure status. Kim Seth, the Law Society’s Regional Manager, reported that at the last count there had been 44 applications, including the Coop, for ABS status.

There was also a lengthy discussion with regard to the difficulties encountered in members obtaining practicing certificates this year. Kim acknowledged that there had been huge problems this year due to the new system that had been introduced. Kim said that The Law Society is doing everything it possibly can to ensure that a better system will be in place by next year.

Edward Cooke

President of the Chichester and District Law Society