Courts of England and Wales
The Courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales. The United Kingdom does not have a single unified legal system—England and Wales has one system, Scotland another, Northern Ireland a third. There are exceptions to this rule. Additionally, the Military Court Service has jurisdiction over all members of the armed forces of the United Kingdom in relation to offences against military law; the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Crown Court, the County Court, the magistrates' courts are administered by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest appeal court in all cases in England and Wales. Before the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 this role was held by the House of Lords; the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for devolution matters, a role held by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The Supreme Court has a separate administration from the other courts of England and Wales, its administration is under a Chief Executive, appointed by the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The Senior Courts of England and Wales were created by the Judicature Acts as the "Supreme Court of Judicature", it was renamed the "Supreme Court of England and Wales" in 1981, again to the "Senior Courts of England and Wales" by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. It consists of the following courts: Court of Appeal High Court of Justice Crown CourtThe Senior Courts of England and Wales, along with the Tribunals and other courts, are administered and supported by HM Courts and Tribunals Service; the Court of Appeal deals only with appeals from other tribunals. The Court of Appeal consists of two divisions: the Civil Division hears appeals from the High Court and County Court and certain superior tribunals, while the Criminal Division may only hear appeals from the Crown Court connected with a trial on indictment.
Its decisions are binding on all courts, including itself, apart from the Supreme Court. The High Court of Justice functions both as a civil court of first instance and a criminal and civil appellate court for cases from the subordinate courts, it consists of three divisions: the Chancery and the Family divisions. The divisions of the High Court are not separate courts, but have somewhat separate procedures and practices adapted to their purposes. Although particular kinds of cases will be assigned to each division depending on their subject matter, each division may exercise the jurisdiction of the High Court. However, beginning proceedings in the wrong division may result in a costs penalty; the formation of The Business and Property Courts of England & Wales within the High Court was announced in March 2017, launched in London in July 2017. The courts would in future administer the specialist jurisdictions, administered in the Queen's Bench Division under the names of the Admiralty Court, the Commercial Court, the Technology & Construction Court, under the Chancery Division's lists for Business and Insolvency, Intellectual Property and Trusts and Probate.
The Crown Court is a criminal court of both original and appellate jurisdiction which in addition handles a limited amount of civil business both at first instance and on appeal. It was established by the Courts Act 1971, it replaced the assizes whereby High Court judges would periodically travel around the country hearing cases, quarter sessions which were periodic county courts. The Old Bailey is the unofficial name of London's most famous criminal court, now part of the Crown Court, its official name is the "Central Criminal Court". The Crown Court hears appeals from magistrates' courts; the Crown Court is the only court in England and Wales that has the jurisdiction to try cases on indictment and when exercising such a role it is a superior court in that its judgments cannot be reviewed by the Administrative Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. The Crown Court is an inferior court in respect of the other work it undertakes, viz. inter alia, appeals from the magistrates’ courts and other tribunals.
The most common subordinate courts in England and Wales are County Court Family Court Magistrates' courts Youth courts The County Court is a national court with a purely civil jurisdiction, sitting in 92 different towns and cities across England and Wales. As from 22 April 2014 there has been a single County Court for England and Wales where there was a series of courts; the County Court is so named after the ancient sheriff's court held in each county, but it has no connection with it nor indeed was the jurisdiction of the county courts based on counties. A County Court hearing is presided over by either a district or circuit judge and, except in a small minority of cases such as civil actions against the police, the judge sits alone as trier of fact and law without assistance from a jury; the old county courts' divorce and family jurisdiction was passed on 22 April 2014 to the single Family Court. Until unification in 2014, county courts were local courts in the sense that each one has an area over
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. It is the highest court of first instance in criminal cases; the Crown Court sits in around 92 locations in Wales. The administration of the Crown Court is conducted through Tribunals Service. Conducted across six circuits, HM Courts and Tribunals Service is now divided into seven regions: Midlands, North East, North West, South East, South West and Wales; the Wales region was identified separately, having regard to the devolved legislative powers of the Welsh Government. When the Crown Court sits in the City of London it is known as the Central Criminal Court; the "Central Criminal Court" at the Old Bailey established by its own Act of Parliament, is a Crown Court centre, is the venue at which many of the most serious criminal cases are heard. The Crown Court carries out four principal types of activity: appeals from decisions of magistrates.
The average time from receipt by the Crown Court to completion was 177 days by the start of 2016. Rather than speaking of a location at which the Crown Court sits, it is common practice to refer to any venue as a Crown Court, e.g. Teesside Crown Court. In 2015 the Crown Court heard 11,348 appeals against conviction, sentence or both, from those convicted in the magistrates' courts. At the conclusion of the hearing the Crown Court has the power to confirm, reverse or vary any part of the decision under appeal. If the appeal is decided against the accused, the Crown Court has the power to impose any sentence which the magistrates could have imposed, including one, harsher than the one imposed; the average waiting time for appeals was 8.8 weeks in 2015. In 2015, the Crown Court dealt with 30,802 cases for sentencing from the magistrates' courts; as the magistrates' courts only have the power to impose a six-month custodial sentence or a £5,000 fine, the court has the power to commit defendants to the Crown Court for sentencing — this can be done when they are of the opinion that either the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it, was so serious that greater punishment should be inflicted than the magistrates' court has power to impose, or, in the case of a violent or sexual offence, that a custodial sentence longer than the court has power to impose is necessary to protect the public from serious harm.
Committals may arise from breaches of the terms of a Community Rehabilitation Order or a suspended sentence of imprisonment. The court performance target is; when the Crown Court is dealing with a matter connected with a trial on indictment, appeal lies to the criminal division of the Court of Appeal and thence to the Supreme Court. In all other cases, appeal from the Crown Court lies by way of case stated to a Divisional Court of the High Court; the judges who sit in the Crown Court are High Court judges, Circuit judges and Recorders. Circuit judges sit in the County Court. Recorders are solicitors in private practice, who sit part-time as judges; the most serious cases are allocated to Senior Circuit judges. The remainder are dealt with by Circuit judges and Recorders, although Recorders will handle less serious work than Circuit judges; the allocation is conducted according to directions given by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. The Criminal Justice Administration Act 1956 set up two additional courts of assize and quarter sessions, the Crown Court at Liverpool and the Crown Court at Manchester, to improve the handling of criminal cases in South Lancashire.
A Royal Commission, headed by Lord Beeching, was established to review the English criminal justice system, recommended the replacement of the assizes and quarter sessions with a new system of courts, following the examples of Liverpool and Manchester. The Crown Court was established on 1 January 1972 by the Courts Act 1971, acting on the recommendations of the commission; the Crown Court is a permanent unitary court across England and Wales, whereas the assizes were periodic local courts heard before judges of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, who travelled across the seven circuits into which England and Wales were divided, assembling juries in the assize towns and hearing cases. The quarter sessions were local courts assembled four times a year to dispose of criminal cases which were not serious enough to go before a High Court judge; the Crown Court and a county court may use the same Judges. Since the establishment of Her Majesty's Courts Service in April 2005, there is an increased sharing of facilities between the Crown Court, county courts and magistrates' courts.
At the front of the court, on a raised platform, is a large bench. This is. His/her rank can be distinguished by the colour of gown worn, different forms of address are appropriate for different ranks of judge, with "Your Honour" used for circuit judges and recorders at most locations, "My Lord" or "My Lady" being used for High Court Judges, as well as for all judges at the Central Criminal Court; the judge enters and exits the court from a door at the side of the pl
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
England and Wales
England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four nations of the United Kingdom. "England and Wales" forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law. The devolved National Assembly for Wales was created in 1999 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under the Government of Wales Act 1998 and provides a degree of self-government in Wales; the powers of the Assembly were expanded by the Government of Wales Act 2006, which allows it to pass its own laws, the Act formally separated the Welsh Government from the Assembly. There is no equivalent body for England, directly governed by the Parliament and the government of the United Kingdom. During the Roman occupation of Britain, the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit, with the exception of the land to the north of Hadrian's Wall – though the Roman-occupied area varied in extent, for a time extended to the Antonine/Severan Wall.
At that time, most of the native inhabitants of Roman Britain spoke Brythonic languages, were all regarded as Britons, divided into numerous tribes. After the conquest, the Romans administered this region as the province of Britain. Long after the departure of the Romans, the Britons in what became Wales developed their own system of law, first codified by Hywel Dda when he was king of most of present-day Wales. However, after the Norman invasion of Wales in the 11th century, English law came to apply in the parts of Wales conquered by the Normans. In 1283, the English, led by Edward I, with the biggest army brought together in England since the 11th century, conquered the remainder of Wales organised as the Principality of Wales; this was united with the English crown by the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. This aimed to replace Welsh criminal law with English law. Welsh law continued to be used for civil cases until the annexation of Wales to England in the 16th century; the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 consolidated the administration of all the Welsh territories and incorporated them into the legal system of the Kingdom of England.
Prior to 1746 it was not clear whether a reference to "England" in legislation included Wales, so in 1746 Parliament passed the Wales and Berwick Act. This specified that in all prior and future laws, references to "England" would by default include Wales; the Wales and Berwick Act was repealed in 1967, although the statutory definition of "England" created by that Act still applies for laws passed before 1967. In new legislation since 1967, what was referred to as "England" is now "England and Wales", while references to "England" and "Wales" refer to those political divisions. England and Wales are treated as a single unit for some purposes, because the two form the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England; the continuance of Scots law was guaranteed under the 1706 Treaty of Union that led to the Acts of Union 1707, as a consequence English law—and after 1801, Irish law—continued to be separate. Following the two Acts of Union, Parliament can restrict the effect of its laws to part of the realm, the effect of laws, where restricted, was applied to one or more of the former kingdoms.
Thus, most laws applicable to England applied to Wales. However, Parliament now passes laws applicable to Wales and not to England, a practice, rare before the middle of the 20th century. Examples are the Welsh Language Acts 1967 and 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. Measures and Acts of the National Assembly for Wales passed since the Government of Wales Act 2006 apply in Wales but not in England. Following the Government of Wales Act, effective since May 2007, the National Assembly for Wales can legislate on matters devolved to it. Following a referendum on 3 March 2011, the Welsh Assembly gained direct law-making powers, without the need to consult Westminster; this was the first time in 500 years that Wales had its own powers to legislate. Each piece of Welsh legislation is known as an Act of the Assembly. For a company to be incorporated in the United Kingdom, its application for registration with Companies House must state "whether the company's registered office is to be situated in England and Wales, in Scotland or in Northern Ireland", which will determine the law applicable to that business entity.
A registered office must be specified as "in Wales" if the company wishes to use a name ending cyfyngedig or cyf, rather than Limited or Ltd. or to avail itself of certain other privileges relating to the official use of the Welsh language. Outside the legal system, the position is mixed; some organisations combine as "England and Wales", others are separate. In sports, cricket has a combined international team administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who govern the sport across both nations, whilst football, rugby union, rugby league, the Commonwealth Games and other sports have separate national representative teams for each country. A few Welsh association football clubs, most notably Cardiff City F. C. and Swansea City F. C. play in the English football league system, while The New Saints F. C. which represents places on both sides of the border, plays in the Welsh football league system. Some religious denominations organise on the basis of England and Wales, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, but small denominations, e.g. the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Prior to the disestablishment of the Church in Wales in 1920, the Anglican churc
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales known as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. The Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales, though they maintain their own office, they are still subordinate to the Cabinet-level Secretary of State for Justice; the Solicitor General for England and Wales serves as the next in command and is subordinate to the Attorney General. The position of Attorney General existed since at least 1243, when records show a professional attorney was hired to represent the King's interests in court; the position first took on a political role in 1461 when the holder of the office was summoned to the House of Lords to advise the government there on legal matters. In 1673 the Attorney General became the Crown's adviser and representative in legal matters, although still specialising in litigation rather than advice; the beginning of the twentieth century saw a shift away from litigation and more towards legal advice.
Today prosecutions are carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service and most legal advice to government departments is provided by the Government Legal Service, both under the supervision of the Attorney General. The job of the Attorney General is a demanding one, Sir Patrick Hastings wrote while serving that "to be a law officer is to be in hell". Duties include superintending the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, other government lawyers with the authority to prosecute cases. Additionally, the Attorney General superintends the Government Legal Department, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Service Prosecuting Authority; the Attorney advises the government, individual government departments and individual government ministers on legal matters, answering questions in Parliament and bringing "unduly lenient" sentences and points of law to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Since the passing of the Law Officers Act 1997 duties can be delegated to the Solicitor General, any actions are treated as if they came from the Attorney General.
The origins of the office are unknown, but the earliest record of an "attorney of the crown" is from 1243, when a professional attorney named Laurence Del Brok was paid to prosecute cases for the King, who could not appear in courts where he had an interest. During the early days of the office the holder was concerned with representing the Crown in litigation, held no political role or duties. Although a valuable position, the Attorney General was expected to work hard; the office first took on a political element in 1461, when the holder was summoned by writ to the House of Lords to advise the government on legal matters. This was the first time that the office was referred to as the office of the "Attorney General"; the custom of summoning the Attorney General to the Lords by writ when appointed continues unbroken to this day, although until the appointment of Lord Williams of Mostyn in 1999, no Attorney General had sat in the Lords since 1700, no Attorney General had obeyed the writ since 1742.
During the sixteenth century the Attorney General was used to pass messages between the House of Lords and House of Commons, although he was viewed suspiciously by the Commons and seen as a tool of the Lords and the King. In 1673 the Attorney General began to take up a seat in the House of Commons, since it has been convention to ensure that all Attorneys General are members of the House of Commons or House of Lords, although there is no requirement that they be so. During the constitutional struggle centred on the Royal Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 and 1673 the Attorney General became the Crown's representative in legal matters. In 1890 the ability of an Attorney General to continue practising was formally taken away, turning the office-holder into a dedicated representative of the government. Since the beginning of the twentieth century the role of the Attorney General has moved away from representing the Crown and government directly in court, it has become more of a political and ministerial post, with the Attorney General serving as a legal adviser to both the government as a whole and individual government departments.
Despite this change, until the passing of the Homicide Act 1957 the Attorney General was bound to prosecute any and all poisoning cases. However, in recent times the Attorney General has exceptionally conducted litigation in person before the courts, for instance before the House of Lords in A and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, where the legality of the Government's detention of terrorist suspects at Belmarsh was at issue; the Attorney General is a non-cabinet minister. The rule that no Attorney General may be a cabinet minister is a political convention rather than a law, for a short time the Attorney General did sit in cabinet, starting with Lord Birkenhead in 1915 and ending with Douglas Hogg in 1928. There is nothing that prohibits Attorneys General from attending meetings of the cabinet, on occasion they have been asked to attend meetings to advise the government on the best course of action legally. Despite this it is considered preferable to exclude Attorneys General from cabinet meetings so as to draw a distinct line between them and the political decisions on which they are giving legal
Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 3⁄4 mile from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London; the road's name comes from the Old English strond, meaning the edge of a river, as it ran alongside the north bank of the River Thames. The street was popular with the British upper classes between the 12th and 17th centuries, with many important mansions being built between the Strand and the river; these included Essex House, Arundel House, Somerset House, Savoy Palace, Durham House and Cecil House. The aristocracy moved to the West End over the 17th century, following which the Strand became well known for coffee shops and taverns; the street was a centre point for theatre and music hall during the 19th century, several venues remain on the Strand. At the east end of the street are two historic churches: St Mary le Strand and St Clement Danes.
This easternmost stretch of the Strand is home to King's College, one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. Several authors and philosophers have lived on or near the Strand, including Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Virginia Woolf; the street has been commemorated in the song "Let's All Go Down the Strand", now recognised as a typical piece of Cockney music hall. The street is the main link between the two cities of London, it runs eastward from Trafalgar Square, parallel to the River Thames, to Temple Bar, the boundary between the two cities at this point. Traffic travelling eastbound follows a short crescent around Aldwych, connected at both ends to the Strand; the road marks the southern boundary of the Covent Garden district and forms part of the Northbank business improvement district. The name was first recorded in 1002 as strondway in 1185 as Stronde and in 1220 as la Stranda, it is formed from the Old English word ` strond'. It referred to the shallow bank of the once much wider Thames, before the construction of the Victoria Embankment.
The name was applied to the road itself. In the 13th century it was known as'Densemanestret' or'street of the Danes', referring to the community of Danes in the area. Two London Underground stations were once named Strand: a Piccadilly line station that operated between 1907 and 1994 and a former Northern line station which today forms part of Charing Cross station.'Strand Bridge' was the name given to Waterloo Bridge during its construction. London Bus routes 6, 23, 139 and 176 all run along the Strand. During Roman Britain, what is now the Strand was part of the route to Silchester, known as "Iter VIII" on the Antonine Itinerary, which became known by the name Akeman Street, it was part of a trading town called Lundenwic that developed around 600 AD, stretched from Trafalgar Square to Aldwych. Alfred the Great moved the settlement into the old Roman town of Londinium from around 886 AD onwards, leaving no mark of the old town, the area returned to fields. In the Middle Ages, the Strand became the principal route between the separate settlements of the City of London and the royal Palace of Westminster.
In the archaeological record, there is considerable evidence of occupation to the north of Aldwych, but much along the former foreshore has been covered by rubble from the demolition of the Tudor Somerset Place, a former royal residence, to create a large platform for the building of the first Somerset House, in the 17th century. The landmark Eleanor's Cross was built in the 13th century at the western end of the Strand at Charing Cross by Edward I commemorating his wife Eleanor of Castile, it was demolished in 1647 by the request of Parliament during the First English Civil War, but reconstructed in 1865. The west part of the Strand was in the parish of St Martin in the Fields and in the east it extended into the parishes of St Clement Danes and St Mary le Strand. Most of its length was in the Liberty of Westminster, although part of the eastern section in St Clement Danes was in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex; the Strand was the northern boundary of the precinct of the Savoy, where the approach to Waterloo Bridge is now.
All of these parishes and places became part of the Strand District in 1855, except St Martin in the Fields, governed separately. The Strand District Board of Works was based at No. 22, Tavistock Street. Strand District was abolished in October 1900 and became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. From the 12th century onwards, large mansions lined the Strand including several palaces and townhouses inhabited by bishops and royal courtiers on the south side, with their own river gates and landings directly on the Thames; the road was poorly maintained, with many pits and sloughs, a paving order was issued in 1532 to improve traffic. What became Essex House on the Strand was an Outer Temple of the Knights Templar in the 11th century. In 1313, ownership passed to the Knights of St John. Henry VIII gave the house to William, Baron Paget in the early 16th century. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, rebuilt the house in 1563 calling it Leicester House, it was renamed Essex House after being inherited by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in 1588.
It was demolished around 1674 and Essex Street, leading up to the Strand, was built o
Law Society of England and Wales
The Law Society of England and Wales is the professional association that represents and governs solicitors for the jurisdiction of England and Wales. It provides services and support to practising and training solicitors, as well as serving as a sounding board for law reform. Members of the Society are consulted when important issues are being debated in Parliament or by the executive; the Society was formed in 1825. The Hall of The Law Society is in Chancery Lane, but it has offices in Cardiff to deal with the Wales jurisdiction and Assembly, Brussels, to deal with European Union law. A president is elected annually to serve for one year; the current president is Christina Blacklaws. Barristers in England and Wales have a similar professional body, the General Council of the Bar known as the Bar Council; the London Law Institution, the predecessor to the Law Society, was founded in 1823 when many London Solicitors came together to raise the reputation of the profession by setting standards and ensuring good practice.'London' was dropped from the title in 1825 to reflect the fact that the Law Institution had national aspirations.
The Society was founded on 2 June 1825. The Society acquired its first Royal Charter in 1831 as The Society of Attorneys, Solicitors and others not being Barristers, practising in the Courts of Law and Equity of the United Kingdom. A new Charter in 1845 defined the Society as an independent, private body servicing the affairs of the profession like other professional and scientific bodies. By further Royal Charter in 1903 the name of the Society was changed to "The Law Society"; the Society first admitted women members in 1922. In July 2013, the Association of Women Solicitors, a national organisation working with and representing women solicitors in the United Kingdom, merged with the Law Society to form its Women Lawyers Division. Although merged, the AWS will operate separately from the Law Society. In 1834, the Society first initiated proceedings against dishonest practitioners. By 1907, the Society possessed a statutory disciplinary committee, was empowered to investigate solicitors' accounts and to issue annual practising certificates.
In 1983, the Society established the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors to deal with complaints about solicitors. Complaints regarding the conduct of solicitors are now dealt with by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; however complaints regarding poor service are the remit of the Legal Ombudsman. The Solicitors Act 1860 enabled the Society to create a three-tier examination system. In 1903, the Society established its own Law Society School of Law, which merged with tutorial firm Gibson and Weldon to become the independent College of Law. By 1922 The Law Society required a compulsory academic year for all clerks. Following the recommendations of the Clementi Review The Law Society split its representative and regulatory functions. Complaints from the public are handled by the Legal Ombudsman, a single portal for complaints by the public made against all providers of legal services including the Bar, licensed conveyancers etc. but excluding unqualified will-writers. The regulatory body for solicitors is the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
It is a Board of The Law Society although it regulates and enforces regulation independently of the Law Society. The Law Society remains the approved regulator, although following the Legal Services Act 2007 a new body, the Legal Services Board oversees all the approved regulators including the Bar Council, which has divested its regulatory functions into the Bar Standards Board. Law Society Gazette Solicitors Regulation Authority Legal Complaints Service Law Society of Scotland Law Society of Northern Ireland Lexcel Cambridge University Law Society Official website