Wednesday, 9 May 2012, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Legal Profession - Regulating for independence

Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE

Britain’s legal profession is renowned the world over for its skill and independence. The cab rank rule governs barristers, ie they are obliged to accept the next case that presents itself, thereby ensuring that even the most unpopular of defendants has a representative, and that the barrister is not identified with the client’s cause.  This is a vital ingredient of the Rule of Law. Should there be self regulation or should the profession be regulated by external bodies composed of lay members? Through the centuries the lawyers, although unpopular, have maintained their professional standards and their own systems of governance and education. What difference will the Legal Services Act 2007 make, and should we continue to have a divided profession, barristers and solicitors?

This is part of Baroness Deech' series Regulation, Regulation, Regulation. The other lectures in this series are:
      The Universities - Over regulation
      The Universities - Under regulation
      The BBC - Protecting it from the Government
      The BBC - Defending the public interest
      Regulating the Regulators

baroness-deech-of-cumnor-dbe

Professor the Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE was the Gresham Professor of Law between 2008 and 2012. She is Chair of the Bar Standards Board, a position she has held since 2009.

Baroness Deech received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from St. Anne's College, Oxford, before going on to further legal studies in the U.S.A. and the Netherlands. Three years after being called to the Bar (Inner Temple), she returned to St. Anne's College, Oxford, where she took up the position of Tutorial Fellow in Law, a position she held until she became the Principal of the College in 1991. During this period, Professor Deech held a number of highly prestigious international positions within academia, the legal profession and beyond. These include Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford (2001-2004) and BBC Governor (2002-2006).

In 2004 she stepped down from her positions at Oxford and became the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-2008).  Professor Deech's specialisation is in reproductive law, medicine and ethics. Through this she was the Chairman of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), a non-executive Director of the Oxfordshire Health Authority (1993-1994) and an ex officio member of the Human Genetics Commission (1991-2002).

Professor Deech was appointed a crossbench Peer in 2005 and is currently a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications.

Professor Deech's 2008/09 series of lectures focussed on the legal and ethical issues surrounding reproductive medicine. Her 2009/10 series of lectures focused on the place of various family relationships within the law since the 1960's, from divorce law to civil partnerships. Her 2011/12 series of lectures focussed on regulation across a range of public bodies, including higher education, the BBC and the legal profession.

All of Baroness Deech’s previous lectures may be accessed here.

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9 May 2012

The Legal Profession - Regulating for independence
Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE

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