HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 c1784W
Sir N. Grattan-Doyle

asked the Attorney-General whether he has seen the announcement of 5th November, that five solicitors were struck off the rolls after having been sentenced to imprisonment for fraudulent conversion; and will he again ask the Law Society to protect the public by strengthening their rules under the powers conferred by the Solicitors Act of 1932 or, alternatively, himself introduce legislation?

Mr. Liddall

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that, of the 45 solicitors convicted in the criminal courts for fraudulent conversion of clients' property during the five years ending December last, 39 were solicitors practising alone prior to conviction; and will he consult with the Law Society with a view to their refusing to license single-partner firms of solicitors unless their clients' property is held by the solicitor jointly with the Public Trustee, or to license single-partner firms after existing single-partner firms have died out?

The Attorney-General

In view of the facts stated in them, my Noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor is in communication with the Law Society. He understands from them that the proposal contained in the question in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall) has received their very careful consideration and it is considered inexpedient. The Society have, however, decided to take certain further steps with a view to strengthening the safeguards in this matter, and, for that purpose, amongst other things, to promote legislation designed to enable them to take more effective and prompter action where cases of possible defaults by solicitors are reported and to exercise greater control over the issue of practising certificates. As these proposals are too extensive to be described in an answer to a Parliamentary question I am sending to my hon. Friends a copy of the Law Society's Gazette, in which the proposals are set out in a statement by the President of the Law Society.