Successes in shaping several pieces of proposed legislation were among Law Society achievements hailed at the inauguration of the body’s 177th president last night.

Addressing an event at Chancery Lane, I. Stephanie Boyce spoke of ‘clear definitive successes’ in preserving the rule of law. ‘Or, in some cases, the prevention of harmful changes.’ Measures amended following Society intervention include:

  • The Overseas Operations Act, which became law in April. ‘Its new presumption against prosecution does not – despite the government’s original intentions – apply for crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, and war crimes, thanks to our lobbying,’ Boyce said.
  • The Professional Qualifications Bill, which will revoke the EU system of qualification recognition. ‘When it was announced, members raised concerns that, as drafted, the bill could allow foreign bars to challenge the independence of UK solicitors and barristers since it potentially permits the government to make decisions on equivalence. We listened, we influenced, and we were assured that government amendments solving the issue will be brought upon the bill’s return to parliament,’ she said. 

I. Stephanie Boyce

I. Stephanie Boyce spoke of ‘clear definitive successes’ in preserving the rule of law

Source: Michael Cross

Meanwhile the Judicial Review and Courts Bill was published ‘without some of the more objectionable proposals from the UK government’s initial consultation on ouster clauses and nullity – a victory for our early engagement with the UK government on this issue’.

Boyce said she was also delighted by the success of the Society’s ‘town hall’ programme, set up to entrench relationships with local societies.

Boyce is the 177th Society president but only the sixth female and the first black office-holder. ‘I am not a passive reaction to changed attitudes and opportunities,’ she said. ‘I have fought to get where I am, and will always fight for diversity, dynamism and equality and social opportunity in the profession.’