You are here:
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Blog
  4. Snap general election 2017 and the legal profession

Snap general election 2017 and the legal profession

19 April 2017

On Tuesday 18 April the prime minister took Westminster and the country by surprise in announcing that she will be tabling a motion to the House of Commons to call for a General Election. On 19 April the House of Commons surpassed the two thirds majority needed to approve the motion by 522 to 13 and approved that a General Election will take place on 8 June.  

What does the election mean for the legal profession?

  • With Parliament being dissolved on 3 May, many of the Bills going through Parliament will not make it through the full legislative programme in time. Specifically, the Prisons and Courts Bill which includes measures on online courts, stops cross examination of vulnerable victims in certain family cases and reforms to whiplash will fall. If the Conservatives win the general election the Bill is likely to be reintroduced but will start its passage through Parliament from the beginning

  • The Queen’s Speech was also to take place in May, however this will now be postponed until after the election when the new Government will set out its legislative priorities. If the Conservatives are successful we could see a number of Bills resurface along with the planned Great Repeal Bill

  • Plans for the Lord Chancellor to lay a post-legislative memorandum on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) to the Justice Select Committee are also likely to be stalled as the civil service goes into ‘purdah’. If the Conservative Government is returned then the review is likely to take place under a revised timeline. We may see other parties commit to a review of the LASPO in their manifestoes  and Labour may fasttrack some of the conclusions emerging from Lord Bach’s Access to Justice Commission. 

The central issue of the election will be the parties’ plans for the Brexit negotiations. The parties’ manifestos, likely to be published in mid-May, are expected to set out each party’s strategy and priorities for the negotiations with the EU. We may see more concrete positions on big issues such as an implementation period, the influence of the Court of Justice of the European Union and immigration.

We may also expect positions from all the major parties on the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights in their manifestos. The Conservative Government have stated that they will not seek to introduce a “British Bill of Rights” until after the UK has withdrawn from the EU but we could see them recommit to repealing the 1998 Act in their manifesto.

Next steps

Over the next seven weeks, the Law Society will be engaging with the main parties to ensure the voice of solicitors and the significance of the profession’s role in the administration of justice is heard. This will include priorities on Brexit, access to justice and the rule of law.

Tags: Theresa May | British Bill of Rights | Parliament | Brexit | Conservatives | Labour | Liberal Democrats

About the author

Robert Bourns was the 172nd president of the Law Society. He is a senior partner at TLT Solicitors, where he specialises in employment law. Robert is one of five representatives for the City of London constituency, a member of the Law Society's Equality and Diversity Committee, and a member of the Regulatory Affairs Board Regulatory Processes Committee.
Follow TLT on Twitter 
Follow the Law Society president on Twitter

  • Share this page:

Adam Johnson | Adele Edwin-Lamerton | Ahmed Aydeed | Alex Barr | Alex Heshmaty | Alexa Lemzy | Alexandra Cardenas | Amanda Carpenter | Amanda Jardine Viner | Amy Bell | Amy Heading | Andrew Kidd | Andy Harris | Anna Drozd | Annaliese Fiehn | Anne Morris | Anne Waldron | Asif Afridi and Roseanne Russell | Bansi Desai | Barbara Whitehorne | Barry Wilkinson | Becky Baker | Ben Hollom | Bob Nightingale | Caroline Marlow | Caroline Roddis | Caroline Sorbier | Catherine Dixon | Chris Claxton-Shirley | Christina Blacklaws | Ciaran Fenton | CV Library | Daniel Matchett | Daphne Perry | David Gilroy | David Yeoward | Douglas McPherson | Dr Sylvie Delacroix | Duncan Wood | Eduardo Reyes | Elizabeth Rimmer | Emily Miller | Emily Powell | Emma Maule | Gary Richards | Gary Rycroft | Graham Murphy | Gustavo Bussmann | Hayley Stewart | Ignasi Guardans | James Castro Edwards | Jayne Willetts | Jeremy Miles | Jerry Garvey | Jessie Barwick | Joe Egan | Jonathan Andrews | Jonathan Fisher | Jonathan Smithers | Julian Hall | Julie Ashdown | Julie Nicholds | Justin Rourke | Karen Jackson | Kate Adam | Katherine Cousins | Kaweh Beheshtizadeh | Kayleigh Leonie | Keiley Ann Broadhead | Kerrie Fuller | Kevin Poulter | Larry Cattle | Laura Bee | Laura Devine | Laura Uberoi | Leah Glover and Julie Ashdown | Leanne Yendell | LHS Solicitors | Lucy Parker | Maria Shahid | Marjorie Creek | Mark Carver | Mark Leiser | Markus Coleman | Martin Barnes | Matt Oliver | Matthew Still | Melissa Hardee | Neil Ford | Nick Denys | Nick O'Neill | Nick Podd | Nikki Alderson | Oz Alashe | Patrick Wolfe | Paul Rogerson | Pearl Moses | Penny Owston | Peter Wright | Philippa Southwell | Preetha Gopalan | Rachel Brushfield | Ranjit Uppal | Richard Coulthard | Richard Heinrich | Richard Messingham | Richard Miller | Richard Roberts | Rita Oscar | Rob Cope | Robert Bourns | Robin Charrot | Rosy Rourke | Saida Bello | Sally Azarmi | Sally Woolston | Sam De Silva | Sara Chandler | Sarah Austin | Sarah Crowe | Sarah Henchoz | Sarah Smith | Shereen Semnani | Sofia Olhede | Sonia Aman | Sophia Adams Bhatti | Sophie O'Neill-Hanson | Steve Deutsch | Steve Thompson | Stuart Poole-Robb | Susan Kench | Suzanne Gallagher | The Law Society Digital and Brand team | Tom Ellen | Tony Roe Solicitors | Umar Kankiya | Vanessa Friend | William Li