Our governance

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:

  • the Solicitors Act 1974
  • the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990
  • the Access to Justice Act 1999
  • the Legal Services Act 2007

Information about these acts is available on legislation.gov.uk.

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.

How we’re governed

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

Our Council is supported by a main board and several committees.

This page summarises how we’re governed but 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.

We have three elected office holders: the president, vice president and deputy vice president. They each hold office for one year.

The process is:

  • our Council elects the deputy vice president
  • the previous year's deputy vice president becomes the vice president
  • the vice president becomes president

Our office holders are our main ambassadors and represent us at home and abroad. The office of president is a full-time appointment and the president is chair of our Council.

Our chief executive is responsible to our Council and our Management Board.

Our current office holders are:

  • President  I. Stephanie Boyce
  • Vice president  Lubna Shuja
  • Deputy vice president  Nick Emmerson
  • Interim chief executive  Gerry Walsh

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 members are solicitors and one trainee solicitor. They sit for a four-year term and can be re-elected. The trainee solicitor sits for a two-year term.

Our Council has 97 seats:

  • 46 members represent 38 geographical locations
  • 51 represent special interest groups and areas of practice

Council meets six times a year. To read the update from the latest Council meeting go to the Gazette and search for 'Law Society spotlight: Council meeting'.

Find out more about Council constituencies, current 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:

  • Council Membership Committee: advises Council on its representatives
  • Audit Committee: reviews and advises Council on our accounts, financial statements and accounting policies
  • Remuneration Committee: approves our senior level salary and payment arrangements as well as determining compensation for office holders, chairs and members of boards, committees and Council
  • 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
  • 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 and committees of Council.

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)
  • Bill Butler
  • Heather Butler
  • Hilary Daniels
  • Sarah Austin

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:

  • Robert Bourns (chair)
  • Office holders ex officiis
    • I. Stephanie Boyce (president)
    • Lubna Shuja (vice president)
    • Nick Emmerson (deputy vice president)
  • Peter Watson-Lee (chair of MCC)
  • Jonathan Goldsmith (chair of PRAC)
  • Council members
    • Sarah Austin
    • Michael Garson
    • Laura Uberoi
  • Non-Council solicitor members
    • Vicky Lockie
    • Penelope Warne
  • Non-Council lay members
    • Bill Butler
    • Judy Craske
  • Co-opted member
    • Vacancy

Four 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)
  • Richard Atkinson
  • Sebastian Charles
  • Mark Davies
  • Allan Devine
  • Louise Hanson (executive director of member experience and services at the Law Society)
  • Kathryn King
  • Linda Lee
  • David Melville
  • David Taylor

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
  • 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
  • Money Laundering Task Force
  • Planning and Environmental Law Committee
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee
  • Professional Standards and Ethics Committee
  • Regulatory Processes Committee
  • Tax Law Committee
  • Technology and Law Committee
  • Wales 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)
  • Sushila Abrahams
  • David Barraclough
  • Scott Bowen
  • Denise Lester

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

Members include:

  • Bill Butler (chair)
  • Michael Garson
  • Charles Ilako
  • Pavel Klimov
  • Lubna Shuja (vice president)

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

Members include:

  • Judy Craske (chair)
  • Cordella Bart Stewart
  • Devyani Vaishampayan
  • Penelope Warne
  • Vicky Lockie

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

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