Non-solicitors to hold sway on SRA board

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15 November 2012

Kumar: CLC champions consumer choice

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will have a lay majority for the first time from January 2013 – the last frontline legal regulator to comply with internal governance rules that require it.

Joining in January will be Enid Rowlands, Bill Galvin and Peter Phippen (all lay members), and former Law Society president Paul Marsh as a solicitor member. New members joining in January 2014 will be lay member Professor Julia Black and solicitor Chris Randall.

Ms Rowlands is currently chair of Victim Support and has served on boards including the General Medical Council and Consumer Focus. Bill Galvin is chief executive of the Pensions Regulator and formerly was an IBM executive. Peter Phippen was president and chief executive of BBC Worldwide Americas and managing director of BBC Magazines for 10 years.

Mr Marsh was instigator of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. He has practised in Surrey since 1972 and has served on a variety of boards relating to the property, conveyancing and insurance markets.

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Julia Black is a professor in the law department at the London School of Economics, while Chris Randall is a solicitor and chief executive of Sussex-based firm Mayo Wynne Baxter.

The appointments follow a recruitment round launched in July. A lay majority is a core requirement of the internal governance rules laid down by the Legal Services Board. As it stands, the board has nine solicitor members, including the chairman, Charles Plant, and eight lay members.

Mr Plant said: “The board of the SRA was reconstituted in January 2010, with new members serving a three-year term which will shortly expire. In appointing new members, a number of factors have come into play; the board must have a lay majority, the solicitor component should better reflect the variety of practices in which the profession is engaged, and it would be preferable if the board could be reduced in number with a more even spread of arrivals and departures.”

From 1 January 2013, the board will comprise: Charles Plant, Graham Chisnall, Martin Coleman, Peter Duffy, Jane Furniss, Bill Galvin, Tom Keevil, Cindy Leslie, Moni Mannings, Paul Marsh, Sara Nathan, Malcolm Nicholson, Peter Phippen, Enid Rowlands and Professor Shamit Saggar.

Leaving the board in December 2012 are lay members Dr Susan Bews, Sir Ron Watson and Ian Menzies-Conacher, and solicitors Lorrette Law, Lucy Winskell and Mark Humphries. Peter Duffy and solicitor Malcolm Nicholson will leave in December 2013; solicitor Tom Keevil will leave in December 2014.

Separately, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has named Sheila Kumar as its chief executive from January 2013.

Most recently group director of regulation at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Ms Kumar was previously at the Ministry of Justice, where she led the team that supported Sir David Clementi in his review of legal regulation and also held positions as head of competition and head of consumer protection.

She then moved to the Law Society, where she was director of change, delivery and performance excellence, developing the model for the separation of regulation from representation.

Ms Kumar said: “I have always been conscious of the important role the CLC occupies in championing consumer choice and the benefits of competition in the legal services market. Innovation driven by the CLC was a key input into the Clementi review.”

Still with appointments, the Legal Services Board is looking to recruit a lay and non-lay (preferably barrister) member. They will be paid £15,000 for at least 30 days a year and will replace barrister David Wolfe and lay member Nicole Smith. The Legal Services Consumer Panel is also looking for a member to bring it up to its full complement. See here for more details on both.

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