HC Deb 06 February 1984 vol 53 cc598-9
62. Mr. Blair

asked the Attorney-General what information the Lord Chancellor has as to the further powers to be sought by the Law Society concerning the investigation of complaints against its members.

The Attorney-General

The society's proposals include powers to enable action to be taken on bad professional work and, where appropriate, to require a solicitor to remit costs or to rectify an error at his own expense.

Mr. Blair

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept than, even with those additional powers, the present system of handling complaints against Law Society members is open to serious public criticism? Does he further accept that that public criticism has not been allayed by the lay observer's report into the Glanville Davies affair, which largely exonerated that system of complaints? Will he accept that the only way of allaying that criticism is to have an independent system for investigating complaints against Law Society members, or at least a system with a substantial lay element, as was advised by the Royal Commission on legal services in 1979?

The Attorney-General

It would be wrong to say that the lay observer did not make any criticism of the Glanville Davies case. He referred to a continued improvement in the Law Society's overall standards in dealing with complaints and said that he had no reason to doubt the fairness or objectivity with which the society and its staff sought to approach the investigation.