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Records expose Margaret Thatcher’s “disquiet” about solicitors

30th December 2014

Margaret Thatcher ordered her lord chancellor to improve the efficiency and probity of solicitors

Recent declassified records from the 1980s have highlighted that then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ordered her lord chancellor to look into ways to improve the “efficiency and probity” of solicitors. 

The documents that were released by the National Archives show that the prime minister made efforts to allow solicitors employed by banks and building societies to undertake conveyancing without facing so many obstacles, which people who were in city lawyer jobs in the 1980s will be all too familiar with.

According to a report on the Law Society Gazette website, minutes revealed that the issue went as far as the Cabinet after the House of Commons Home and Social Affairs Committee were unable to resolve problems posed by the government’s pledge to permit employed solicitors to undertake conveyancing.

The idea was a part of a deregulation package that would see positions for licensed conveyancers created under the 1985 Administration of Justice Act.

The released documents also revealed the “disquiet” about the quality of service that was provided by solicitors and that Thatcher and the cabinet had asked the Lord Chancellor to look into any further action that was needed to deal with any complaints against solicitors.

Image Credit: Glenn Dettwiler (flickr.com)