The Law Society is looking to boost its revenue by £8.4million thanks to higher PC fees

Barreau: Now is the time for us to be more strategic

The Law Society plans to raise the cost of the practice to boost its income by £8.4million over the next three years as it tries to make itself “indispensable” to members.

The Certificate of Practice (PCF) fee has fallen or stayed the same for the past nine years, but the current £266 would rise to £287.50 by 2024/25 according to plans put in consultation Friday.

The Law Society has not said what will happen to law firms’ fees, which account for 60% of the money generated from practice fees.

He would also be looking to take a bigger cut of the money – 15% this year, then 7% and 5% the next two years – taking it from £28.5million in the current year to £36.9m in 2024/25.

Practice fees, which raised £104.3m in the current year, largely to pay for the work of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and other parts of the structure regulatory – the Legal Services Board, the Legal Ombudsman, the Barristers Disciplinary Tribunal and the Office of the Anti-Money Laundering Professional Body.

However, the Legal Services Act 2007 allows the Law Society, in its representative form, to also use them for ‘permitted purposes’ – certain prescribed non-regulatory activities, such as law reform. But its share in the overall catch has declined in recent years.

It must fund activities not covered by permitted purposes from other income and has an overall budget of approximately £45 million.

Lawyers do not need to be members of the Law Society to practice, but are required to pay for it.

Presenting its case, the company said: ‘We know a raise is not desirable. However, we are encouraged by the resilience of the legal sector during the pandemic, with the top 200 firms reporting record levels of revenue in 2021, up £2bn from 2019.

“While it hasn’t been the same for SMEs, they are also showing signs of recovery and we believe that by Q3 2022 they will be back to pre-COVID-19 revenue levels. pandemic.”

According to the company, those who responded to its consultation on fees last year said “more could be done with an increase in our level of income”, and that it should be “appropriately funded” to play its role in society.

However, the results do not fully confirm this. The Law Society has not officially released the outcome of the consultation, but a summary was included in its application to the Commission des services juridiques to approve the fees.

This indicated that most members (53%) felt the company should maintain the same amount of money it received from PC fees at £28.5m; 14% said he should look for more and 18% less.

In 2020 it reduced its share of exercise fee income from £3m to £28.5m – which was covered by reserves – due to the impact of the pandemic on the profession .

“In addition to the reduction in PC costs, we also offered training and webinars at reduced or no cost. Maintaining this level of support to help members has depleted our reserves and continuing to do so is unrealistic.

The company said that if inflation had been applied to the PCF since 2016, its revenue would have been £36.1 million this year.

He added that “now is the time for us to be more strategic as we prepare to launch our new business plan. We are now calling on you to support us.”

Chancery Lane is committed to launching a long-term program to ‘reframe’ and promote the social, political and economic value of the rule of law and the justice system.

“We know that public perceptions of ‘big issues’ can be influenced and changed once they understand the value. Nothing less than a major public program led by the Law Society will change the status quo.

“This strategic communications program will be coupled with a major campaign to create a vision for a 21st century justice system.”

Among the results listed in its new business plan are that members feel “the Law Society belongs as part of their professional community and identity”, and that it is “indispensable to the achievement of their professional goals and high quality legal services”. .