Law Society calls for greater ethics emphasis
Following the announcement of the review of legal services education and training by the main legal regulators, the Law Society has called for there to be a greater focus on ethics in the Qualifying Law Degree and for the development of more robust systems for assuring quality in the provision of legal education and training.
Whilst applauding the strong emphasis placed by regulators on the need to ensure the ethical standards of those delivering legal services in the changed market following the Legal Services Act, nevertheless the Society stated that it will continue to urge the regulators to strengthen the place of ethics in the education and training system.
Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson said the review must also take into account the need to encourage social mobility and diversity within the profession and to ensure that the current system of education and training provision is serving the needs of students and of the profession. He said:
“The Law Society looks forward to engaging with the regulators on these and other important issues throughout the review process.
“The legal services market is changing, and the challenge for the solicitors? profession is to secure its standards in the face of these changes and overarching regulators who may not understand the profession’s previous approach to ethics, while remaining competitive both in the UK and internationally. The Law Society sees a robust education and training system as an essential tool to meet this challenge.”
“Any assessment of legal education and training needs to ask the question ?What does it mean to be a solicitor in the post-Legal Services Act environment?? The system must be sufficiently robust to support solicitors working in this new market.
“We are pleased that the SRA recognises the importance of considering legal education and training as a whole, rather than taking a piecemeal approach to addressing the current issues within the system.
“We will continue to work for a greater focus on ethics in the education and training system, including the Common Professional Examination (CPE), Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and particularly in the Qualifying Law Degree, which provides the ideal environment for all would-be entrants to the legal profession to develop a deep understanding of the value and meaning of legal ethics.
“The Society is also pleased that, in the light of the recent Work-Based Learning pilot, the training contract will be reviewed . We hope that Continuing Professional Development requirements will be strengthened as soon as possible, to ensure that solicitors are better supported in maintaining their high standards of practice post-qualification.”