The Law Society President has said she is committed to reducing the Practising Certificate (PC) fee for solicitors for 2021, but she has also warned that this must be done “as part of the prudent and responsible management of the society's finances”.
In the latest President’s Bulletin, Michele O’Boyle says she appreciates that the annual PC fee is a significant outlay and that the 2021 fee is particularly concerning due to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fee is usually proposed by the society’s Finance Committee, of which the president is a member, to Council at its December meeting for approval.
This year, however, the committee has accelerated its preparation of the budget for 2021.
President O’Boyle says it been monitoring the impact of the economic crisis closely with a view to identifying and taking actions to preserve the society’s finances, as well as confirming the availability of finance for initiatives brought forward to support the profession during the crisis.
The president says the committee will “take a position in relation to the extent to which some of the society’s reserves can be prudently committed to reducing the PC fee for 2021”.
It will make a decision on this in early November.
In her bulletin, the president says the Law Society’s cash reserves give it the scope to consider cutting the PC fee for 2021, but she warns that “this is not without limits”.
President O’Boyle adds that the reserves are not strong enough to withstand the 75% reduction in the PC fee which has been suggested. This would cost a total of more than €20m, according to the president.
“It is important that the society remains sufficiently resourced to ensure that it can provide all the necessary supports to members at this difficult and challenging time while also fulfilling its obligations to represent, regulate and educate the profession,” President O’Boyle concludes.