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Uncertificated Solicitors

Volume 126: debated on Monday 1 February 1988

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To ask the Attorney-General what steps he will take to prevent uncertificated solicitors from acting improperly.

The rules of professional conduct and, in certain circumstances, the criminal law seek to prevent improper behaviour on the part of solicitors with or without practising certificates.

To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek a meeting with Mr. Stringer of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau to discuss complaints against the bureau; and whether he will make a statement.

To ask the Attorney-General if he will set up an inquiry into the manner in which the Solicitors Complaints Bureau conducts investigations, with respect to its standards of impartiality.

To ask the Attorney-General how many uncertificated solicitors are practising in (a) the west midlands and (b) England and Wales.

No such statistics are kept. A practising certificate under the Solicitors Act 1974 is not required for all work that a solicitor may do, and information on the matters raised in the question would be difficult to obtain.

To ask the Attorney-General if he will take steps to establish a method of complaints against uncertificated solicitors which is more open to scrutiny than that of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau.

To ask the Attorney-General what action will he take against solicitors who acted uncertificated between November 1986 and 28 January 1987 in north Staffordshire.

If the hon. Member would supply details, her allegations will be investigated.

To ask the Attorney-General what steps he will take to prevent the payment of legal aid moneys to uncertificated solicitors; and whether he will make a statement.

When the legal aid administration of the Law Society receives information that a solicitor has undertaken legal aid work whilst uncertificated, no payment is made for the work concerned. Action is taken to recoup any moneys already paid in respect of the appropriate period.