This is my final President's Report. My most important task is to thank those members who continue to volunteer their time, effort and energy to the work of the association. In particular, Paul Harris, Jim Meyer, Greg Powell, Avtar Bhatoa and those who serve on the committee and campaign sub-committee have given superb advice and technical assistance throughout this challenging year. I would also like to thank Gwyn Morgan and SandraDawson, as well as Bill Waddington (CLSA) and Michael Turner QC (CBA).
On 5 September, Mr Grayling announced the parameters of the second consultation on his proposals for legal aid. The LCCSA's immediate response was reported in The Guardian and BBC News 24. Within a week, we arranged the Closing Down Sale meeting, attended by 500 lawyers and reported in The Times and The Guardian. Rhona Friedman prepared an excellent summary of the proposals which is being used as a guide by both professions. The campaign committee is meeting each week, and its work is being carried out daily.
The backlash against the Law Society's part in a proposed "settlement" has diverted some attention away from the campaign's focus. We have worked hard to ensure that the Society is aware of the expectations of our members. Equal efforts have been put in to ensure that unity within the profession is maintained.
The LCCSA has continued to work on day-to-day issues affecting our members. I have attended meetings on disclosure in court, reforming the prison legal visits booking system and other prison issues, VHCC rates and digital working. I have also met with the Black Solicitors' Network, as well as attending practitioner group meetings and campaign meetings.
At 65 years old, the association is in great shape. Its membership package is now exceptional value for money - not least because of our free webinars. We must continue to encourage more firms and individuals to join.
My successor, Nicola Hill, has already contributed greatly to a campaign which the LCCSA is leading from the front. Our justice system, respected across the world, is under threat. We must all support Nicola as she spearheads our fight to protect it in 2014.
- Akhtar Ahmad ABV Solicitors