Our governance

Learn about how the Law Society is governed, our Royal Charter and our constitutional arrangements.

How we’re governed

Around 100 Law Society Council members and 300 elected and appointed members help to set the strategic direction of the Law Society.

Our Council is supported by a Board and several committees.

We have three elected office holders: the president, vice president and deputy vice president.

They each hold office for one year and act as our main ambassadors, representing members at home and abroad. The office of president is a full-time appointment.

Council elects the deputy vice president. At the annual general meeting, the previous year's deputy vice president becomes the vice president and the vice president becomes president.

Our current office holders are:

  • Nick Emmerson, president
  • Richard Atkinson, vice president
  • Mark Evans, deputy vice president

Our Council, set up under Royal Charter, agrees the strategic direction of our work. This includes:

  • representing the views of our members
  • setting the practising certificate fee and compensation fund contributions
  • approving our annual business plan and budget
  • determining our position on significant policy issues
  • making changes to our rules
  • fulfilling our residual functions as an approved regulator

Council meets six times a year and is chaired by the president.

Find out more about Council constituencies, members and how to contact them to make sure your views are heard

Committees of Council

The work of our Council is supported by six committees:

  • Audit Committee: reviews and advises Council on our accounts, financial statements and accounting policies
  • Conduct Committee: investigates and reports to Council any complaints about the conduct of elected and appointed members of Council, the Board and all Law Society committees. Find out more about the Conduct Committee procedure (PDF 78 KB)
  • Council Membership Committee: advises Council on its representatives
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee: advises Council, boards and committees on equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Scrutiny and Performance Review Committee: reviews decisions and actions taken under delegated powers and reviews the performance of the Board

Do you have a passion for supporting your profession? Get involved with our Council

The Board is responsible for:

  • overseeing the effective implementation of our strategy and business plan, as set by Council
  • dealing with financial matters and risk management on behalf of Council
  • recommending approval of the budget to Council
  • making sure the Law Society is well governed

Our Board members are:

  • Amerdeep Somal (chair)
  • Office holders ex officiis
    • Nick Emmerson (president)
    • Richard Atkinson (vice president)
    • Mark Evans (deputy vice president)
  • Peter Watson-Lee (chair of MCC)
  • Jonathan Goldsmith (chair of PRAC)
  • Mark Davies (chair of NBW)
  • Council members
    • Melinda Giles
    • Michael Frape
    • Sushila Abraham
  • Non-Council solicitor members
    • Larissa Joy
    • Eileen Schofield
  • Non-Council lay members
    • Kevin Hogarth (chair of PRC)
    • Krishna Vishnubhotla (chair of FIC)

Five committees report to the Board.

This committee reports to the Board about legal policy and regulatory issues relevant to solicitors and our profession and our public interest role.

Experienced Council members with detailed knowledge of policy and regulatory issues make up this committee, together with two members elected from among the chairs of the policy advisory committees. They are:

  • Jonathan Goldsmith (chair)
  • Allan Devine
  • Brett Dixon
  • Karen Dovaston
  • Shama Gupta
  • Louise Hanson (executive director of member experience and services at the Law Society)
  • Stephen Head
  • Nicola Jones-King
  • David Melville
  • Paul Sharma
  • Kirsty Stuart
  • vacancy

Our Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee (PRAC) is supported by a number of specialist policy advisory committees.

These are made up of some Council members and a large number of solicitors who are experts in the subject matter of each committee. Some committees also have members who are relevant experts in the field from other professions.

Our specialist committees are:

  • Access to Justice Committee
  • Children Law Sub Committee
  • Civil Justice Committee
  • Company Law Committee
  • Conveyancing and Land Law Committee
  • Criminal Law Committee
  • Economic Crime Task Force
  • Education and Training Committee
  • Employment Law Committee
  • European Union Committee
  • Family Law Committee
  • Housing Law Committee
  • Human Rights Committee
  • Immigration Law Committee
  • Intellectual Property Law Committee
  • International Issues Committee
  • Mental Health Disability Committee
  • Planning and Environmental Law Committee
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee
  • Professional Standards and Ethics Committee
  • Regulatory Processes Committee
  • Tax Law Committee
  • Technology and Law Committee
  • Wills and Equity Committee

Do you have a passion for supporting your profession? Get involved with our PRAC sub-committees

This committee develops and oversees the services we provide to our members and how we communicate with our members and other stakeholders.

Committee members are experienced in understanding the needs and expectations of our members, and in working with internal and external stakeholders.

  • Peter Watson-Lee (chair)
  • Mark Brown
  • Dana Denis-Smith
  • Josephine Duchenne
  • Md Mahadi Hassan
  • Lizzy Lim
  • Johnny Shearman
  • Rebecca Swinton-Bland
  • Donna Taylor
  • Avanthi Weerasinghe
  • Jonathan Wheeler

This committee reports into Council and reviews/advises on the Law Society’s accounts, risk management, financial statements and accounting policies. They are:

  • Joanne Stimpson (chair)
  • Heather Butler
  • Michael Frape
  • Charlotte Moar
  • Krishna Vishnubhotla

This subcommittee reports into the Board and advises on details for finance, investments and reviews the annual accounts.

Members include:

  • Krishna Vishnubhotla (chair)
  • Sushila Abraham
  • Mark Anderson
  • Mark Evans (deputy vice president)
  • Charles Ilako

This subcommittee reports into the Board and focuses on HR-related policies, remuneration and appointments, for elected and appointed members and staff.

Members include:

  • Kevin Hogarth (chair)
  • Cordella Bart Stewart
  • Janet Campbell
  • Jean-Christophe Fonfreyde
  • Larissa Joy
  • Eileen Schofield

This committee reports into Council and advises Council, its committees and the Board on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues.

This includes setting the direction and strategic framework for EDI issues in the profession, ensuring a coordinated approach across the Law Society and reviewing progress.

The committee members are:

  • Sara Chandler (chair)
  • Jonathan Achampong
  • Sam De Silva (Ethnic Solicitors Network)
  • Darija Dybov (Junior Solicitors Network)
  • Dana Denis-Smith (Council member)
  • Louise Duckett (Council member)
  • Shama Gupta (Council member)
  • Salma Maqsood (Council member)
  • Shaheen Mamun
  • Omar Madhloom
  • Placida Ojinnaka (Disabled Solicitors Network)
  • Shaid Parveen (Women Solicitors Network – shared)
  • Catherine Pitt
  • Nina Sahu
  • Niresha Umaichelvam (Women Solicitors Network – shared)
  • Luke Williams (LGBT+ Solicitors Network)
  • vacancy (Council member)

This committee, reporting to the Board:

  • allows for effective and empowered decision making against the backdrop of the increasing devolutionary pressures and divergence in law between England and Wales
  • reviews and promotes improvements to the practice and procedure of law in Wales
  • maintains a strong policy and political presence in Wales and ensures full representation for its members
  • carries out local decision-making and intelligence gathering alongside the work of the specialist committees

In carrying out these functions, the National Board for Wales oversees specialist advisory groups:

  • Policy Wales Group
  • Member Experience (MX)
  • In-house Lawyers Wales group

Members include:

  • Mark Davies (chair)
  • Gareth Jones (vice chair)
  • Scott Bowen
  • Kelly Byrne
  • Mark Evans
  • Edward Friend
  • Carolyn Kirby OBE
  • Emily Littlehales
  • Daniela Mahapatra
  • Eve Piffaretti
  • Clive Thomas

This board also report to Council about our duties as an approved regulator.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority Board – carries out the Law Society’s regulatory function, including:

  • overseeing the operation of the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • dealing with solicitors’ compliance with regulatory requirements
  • dealing with solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings

The Law Society Group is made up of two independently run divisions, the Law Society Professional Body and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The Law Society Professional Body

We are the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. We’re run by and for our members.

We represent, support and promote solicitors in the UK and internationally. We support a fair and just society by speaking out to defend the rule of law and access to justice for everyone.

Find out more about us and how we work

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the independent regulator of solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. It protects consumers and supports the rule of law and the administration of justice.

The SRA:

  • oversees all education and training requirements necessary to be able to practise as a solicitor
  • licences individuals and firms to practise
  • sets the standards for the profession 
  • regulates the profession to make sure individuals and firms meet its standards

Visit the SRA website

Read our gender pay gap report

You can read the detailed terms of reference for our Board, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee (PRAC) and Membership and Communications Committee (MCC) in our general regulations.

Our Charter

Our Royal Charter granted in 1845 allowed the incorporation of the Law Society, the establishment of our governing body, the Council, and defined our objectives and powers to govern our own affairs.

Our regulatory powers are supported by legislation:

Constitutional documents

These documents set out our purpose, our structure and help people understand what we do and how we function.

Memorandum of understanding

The memorandum of understanding (PDF 252 KB) between the Law Society, the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal sets out the processes all three organisations have agreed to follow to meet our duties and obligations. This mostly relates to budgets and payments of funds.

Annual general meeting

Download the minutes from our 2022 annual general meeting (PDF 213 KB)

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