Law Society hit by fresh split over fees

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The Independent Online
The Law Society was damaged by further splits yesterday over plans to hike conveyancing fees, and tabloid coverage of the personal life of the president, Martin Mears, writes Stephen Ward.

Mr Mears' pledge to stamp out cut-price conveyancing and boost solicitors' incomes was one of his key promises when he was voted in last year in the first contested election for 40 years. But yesterday the Law Society was given counsel's opinion that almost all the ways Mr Mears and his deputy, Robert Sayers, planned to try to impose minimum fees would be unlawful price-fixing.

Their only remaining possibility is a scheme to refuse insurance cover to solicitors who charge low fees, but they conceded at a meeting of the Society's ruling council that they would have to delay while they appointed independent experts to try to establish that cheap solicitors made more claims.