Solicitors in England and Wales have voted overwhelmingly to introduce term limits and constituency reforms for the Law Society’s governing Council. This means that more than 20 Council members will be obliged to step down when their current terms end.

At last October’s Society AGM, it was decided to conduct all-member ballots covering two issues: maximum term limits of 12 years for Council members and constituency reorganisation, including changes to geographical representation.

'Clearly this may be disappointing news for those Council members who have given long and loyal service representing their constituencies who will become ineligible to stand again,' said Society president David Greene. 'Whilst the effect of this decision will be that we will lose their knowledge and experience on Council, there are many ways in which individuals can contribute to the work of the Law Society and we hope they will pursue those opportunities. It is important to remember, however, that term limits are commonplace among governing bodies.' 

Law Society sign

More than one in four members of the Law Society Council will be forced to step down when their terms end

Both resolutions were approved, with 83.3% of the vote for the constituency proposals and 77.2% of the vote for the term limit proposal. Some 12,207 of the 200,446 of eligible members voted.

On the changes to geographical constituencies, Greene said: ‘These both recognise the importance of geographical links between our members and their Council representatives but also strive rightly to make council more representative of the modern diverse profession.’

Root-and-branch constitutional changes have generated controversy over the years. Three years ago this month, the Law Society’s then chief executive, Catherine Dixon, resigned, blaming lack of progress made by the organisation’s near 100-strong Council in streamlining governance.