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Solicitors Act 1974

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Commencement Orders

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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

Part IVE+W+S+N.I. Miscellaneous and General

The SocietyE+W

76 Non–practising solicitors eligible for membership of Society.E+W

F1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

77 Annual subscription to Society.E+W

F2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

78 Cessation and suspension of membership of Society.E+W

F3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

[F479Discharge of the Council's functionsE+W

(1)The Council may arrange for any function of the Council (including any function exercisable by the Council by virtue of section 80) to be exercised by—

(a)a committee of the Council,

(b)a sub-committee of such a committee,

(c)a body corporate which is established for the purpose of providing services to the Council (or any committee of the Council) and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Society, or

(d)an individual (whether or not a member of the Society's staff).

(2)Where by virtue of subsection (1) any function may be discharged by a committee, the committee may arrange for the discharge of the function by—

(a)a sub-committee of that committee,

(b)a body corporate which is established for the purpose of providing services to the Council (or any committee of the Council) and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Society, or

(c)an individual (whether or not a member of the Society's staff).

(3)Where, by virtue of subsection (1) or (2), any function may be discharged by a sub-committee, that sub-committee may arrange for the discharge of the function by an individual (whether or not a member of the Society's staff).

(4)Arrangements made under this section in respect of a function may provide that the function is to be exercised in accordance with the arrangements only (and not by the delegating body).

(5)In subsection (4) “the delegating body” means—

(a)in the case of arrangements under subsection (1), the Council;

(b)in the case of arrangements under subsection (2), the committee;

(c)in the case of arrangements under subsection (3), the sub-committee.

(6)Subsections (2) and (3) have effect subject to any contrary direction given by the Council.

(7)Where arrangements under subsection (3) relate to a function delegated by a committee under subsection (2), subsection (3) also has effect subject to any contrary direction given by that committee.

(8)Any power given by subsection (1), (2) or (3) may be exercised so as to impose restrictions or conditions on the body or individual by whom the function is to be discharged.

(9)A committee or sub-committee may include or consist of individuals other than—

(a)members of the Council;

(b)members of the Society;

(c)solicitors.

(10)A sub-committee of a committee may also include or consist of individuals other than members of the committee.

(11)The Council may make arrangements for the appointment and removal of members of any committee to be made other than by the Council.

(12)A committee or sub-committee may regulate its own procedure, including quorum.

(13)The validity of any proceedings of a committee or sub-committee is not affected by any vacancy among its members.

(14)In this section “wholly-owned subsidiary” has the meaning given by section 1159 of the Companies Act 2006.

(15)This section is subject to any provision to the contrary made by or under any enactment.]

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

80 Powers to act on behalf of Society.E+W

(1)Anything authorised or required to be done by the Society under or in pursuance of this Act or [F5any other enactment (or of any instrument made under this Act or any other enactment)] may be done on behalf of the Society by the Council; and the power to delegate functions [F6conferred] by section 79 shall include power to delegate functions exercisable by the Council by virtue of this subsection.

(2)Any document issued by the Society or the Council for any purpose whatsoever may be signed on behalf of the Society or the Council, as the case may be, by the Secretary of the Society or by such other officer of the Society, or by the person holding such office in the Society, as may from time to time be prescribed either generally or specially by resolution of the Council.

(3)In any proceedings a document purporting to be certified by the Secretary of the Society as a copy of a resolution passed by the Council or a committee of the Council [F7or sub–committee] on a specified date shall be evidence that that resolution was duly passed by the Council [F8, committee or sub–committee] on that date.

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Amendments (Textual)

MiscellaneousE+W+S+N.I.

81 Administration of oaths and taking of affidavits.E+W

F9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

81A Fees for administering oaths and taking affidavits.E+W

F10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

F1182. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .E+W

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Amendments (Textual)

83 Power of Society to inspect file of proceedings in bankruptcy of solicitor.E+W

Where proceedings in bankruptcy have been taken against any solicitor, the Society shall be entitled—

(a)to inspect the file of those proceedings without payment of any fee; and

(b)to be supplied with office copies of those proceedings on payment of the usual charge.

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

84 Service of documents at solicitor’s place of business.E+W

(1)For the purpose of facilitating the service of notices and other documents, every solicitor who has in force, or has applied for, a practising certificate shall give notice to the Society of any change in his place or places of business before the expiration of 14 days from the date on which the change takes effect.

(2)Any notice or other document required or authorised by or by virtue of this Act to be served on any person may be served on him by delivering it to him, by leaving it at his proper address or by sending it by post.

(3)Any such notice or document may be served on a practising solicitor, without prejudice to any other method of service, by sending it in a registered letter addressed to him at any place specified as his place of business, or one of his places of business, in his latest application for a practising certificate or in any subsequent notice under subsection (1).

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

85 Bank accounts.E+W

Where a solicitor keeps an account with a bank [F12or a building society] in pursuance of rules under section 32—

(a)the bank [F13or society] shall not incur any liability, or be under any obligation to make any inquiry, or be deemed to have any knowledge of any right of any person to any money paid or credited to the account, which it would not incur or be under or be deemed to have in the case of an account kept by a person entitled absolutely to all the money paid or credited to it; and

(b)the bank [F13or society] shall not have any recourse or right against money standing to the credit of the account, in respect of any liability of the solicitor to the bank, other than a liability in connection with the account.

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Amendments (Textual)

F12Words inserted by Building Societies Act 1986 (c. 53, SIF 16), ss. 54(3)(a)(5), 120, Sch. 18 Pt. I para. 11(4)(a)

F13Words inserted by Building Societies Act 1986 (c. 53, SIF 16), ss. 54(3)(a)(5), 120, Sch. 18 Pt. I para. 11(4)(b)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

F1486 Bankers’ books.E+W+S+N.I.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

SupplementaryE+W

[F1586ARulesE+W
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Amendments (Textual)

(1)Rules made by the Society under this Act may —

(a)make provision generally or subject to exceptions or only in relation to specified cases;

(b)make different provision for different cases or circumstances or for different purposes.

(2)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), any rules prescribing a fee may provide for that fee to be reduced or waived in such circumstances as may be specified in the rules.]

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

87 Interpretation.E+W

(1)In this Act, except where the context otherwise requires,—

  • F16. . .

  • F17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • [F18bank” means the Bank of England, a person (other than a building society) who has permission under Part 4 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to accept deposits or an EEA firm of the kind mentioned in paragraph 5(b) of Schedule 3 to that Act which has permission under paragraph 15 of that Schedule (as a result of qualifying for authorisation under paragraph 12 of that Schedule) to accept deposits;

  • [F19building society” means a building society within the meaning of the Building Societies Act 1986 F20. . ..]

  • the Charter” means the Royal Charter dated 26th February 1845, whereby the Society was incorporated, together with the Royal Charters supplemental to it dated respectively 26th November 1872, 4th June 1903, 2nd June 1909 and 10th March 1954;

  • client” includes—

    (a)

    in relation to contentious business, any person who as a principal or on behalf of another person retains or employs, or is about to retain or employ, a solicitor, and any person who is or may be liable to pay a solicitor’s costs;

    (b)

    in relation to non–contentious business, any person who, as a principal or on behalf of another, or as a trustee or executor, or in any other capacity, has power, express or implied, to retain or employ, and retains or employs or is about to retain or employ, a solicitor, and any person for the time being liable to pay to a solicitor for his services any costs;

  • client account” means an account in the title of which the word “client” is required by rules under section 32;

  • contentious business” means business done, whether as solicitor or advocate, in or for the purposes of proceedings begun before a court or before an arbitrator F21. . ., not being business which falls within the definition of non–contentious or common form probate business contained in [F22section 128 of the M1[F23Senior Courts] Act 1981];

  • contentious business agreement” means an agreement made in pursuance of section 59;

  • controlled trust”, in relation to a solicitor, means a trust of which he is a sole trustee or co–trustee only with one or more of his partners or employees;

  • costs” includes fees, charges, disbursements, expenses and remuneration;

  • the Council” means the Council of the Society elected in accordance with the provisions of the Charter and this Act;

  • duly certificated notary public” means a notary public who either—

    (a)

    has in force a practising certificate as a solicitor issued under this Act, and duly entered in the court of faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury in accordance with rules made by the master of faculties; or

    (b)

    has in force a practising certificate as a notary public issued by the s aid court of faculties in accordance with rules so made;

  • F16. . .

  • indemnity conditions” has the meaning assigned to it by section 28(2)(b);

  • indemnity rules” means rules under section 37;

  • F24. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • local law society” means a society which is for the time being recognised by the Council as representative of solicitors in some particular part of England and Wales;

  • non–contentious business” means any business done as a solicitor which is not contentious business as defined by this subsection;

  • [F25“officer”, in relation to a limited liability partnership, means a member of the limited liability partnership;]

  • F24. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • practising certificate” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1;

  • [F26replacement date”, in relation to a practising certificate, means the date prescribed under section 14(2)(a) or specified by the Society under any regulation made by virtue of section 14(4)(b);

  • the roll” means the list of solicitors of the [F23Senior Courts] kept by the Society under section 6;

  • “Secretary” of the Society includes any deputy or person appointed temporarily to perform the duties of that office;

  • the Society” means the Law Society, that is to say, the Society incorporated and regulated by the Charter;

  • sole solicitor” means a solicitor who is the sole principal in a practice;

  • solicitor” means solicitor of the [F23Senior Courts];

  • solicitor in Scotland” means a person enrolled or deemed to have been enrolled as a solicitor in pursuance of the M2Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1933;

  • F27. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • training conditions” has the meaning assigned to it by section 28(2)(a);

  • training regulations” means regulations under section 2;

  • the Tribunal” means the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal;

  • trust” includes an implied or constructive trust and a trust where the trustee has a beneficial interest in the trust property, and also includes the duties incident to the office of a personal representative, and “trustee” shall be construed accordingly;

  • unqualified person” means a person who is not qualified under section 1 to act as a solicitor.

[F28(1A)In this Act “authorised insurer” means—

(a)a person who has permission under Part 4 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to effect or carry out contracts of insurance of a relevant class;

(b)a person who carries on an insurance market activity, within the meaning of section 316(3) of that Act;

(c)an EEA firm of the kind mentioned in paragraph 5(d) of Schedule 3 to that Act, which has permission under paragraph 15 of that Schedule (as a result of qualifying for authorisation under paragraph 12 of that Schedule) to effect or carry out contracts of insurance of a relevant class; or

(d)a person who does not fall within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) and who may lawfully effect or carry out contracts of insurance of a relevant class in a member state other than the United Kingdom.

(1B)A contract of insurance is of a relevant class for the purposes of subsection (1A) if it insures against risks arising from—

(a)accident;

(b)credit;

(c)legal expenses;

(d)general liability to third parties;

(e)sickness;

(f)suretyship;

(g)miscellaneous financial loss.

(1C)The definition of “bank” in subsection (1) and subsections (1A) and (1B) must be read with—

(a)section 22 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;

(b)any relevant order under that section; and

(c)Schedule 2 to that Act.]

(2)In this Act—

(a)references to the removal of a solicitor’s name from the roll are references to its removal at his own request [F29or in pursuance of regulations under section 28(3A);]

(b)references to striking a solicitor’s name off the roll are references to striking it off [F30as a disciplinary sanction]; and

(c)references to removal or striking off include references to deleting an entry made by means of a computer by whatever means are appropriate.

(3)In this Act, except where otherwise indicated—

(a)a reference to a numbered Part, section or Schedule is a reference to the Part or section of, or the Schedule to, this Act so numbered;

(b)a reference in a section to a numbered subsection is a reference to the subsection of that section so numbered;

(c)a reference in a section, subsection or Schedule to a numbered paragraph is a reference to the paragraph of that section, subsection or Schedule so numbered; and

(d)a reference in a paragraph to a numbered sub–paragraph is a reference to the sub–paragraph of that paragraph so numbered.

(4)Except where the context otherwise requires, references in this Act to any enactment shall be construed as references to that enactment as amended or applied by or under any other enactment, including this Act.]]

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Amendments (Textual)

F16S. 87(1): definitions of "articles" and "employee" repealed (7.3.2008) by Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29), ss. 177, 210, 211, Sch. 16 para. 75(c), Sch. 23 (with ss. 29, 192, 193); S.I. 2008/222, art. 2(j)(i)(n)(i)

F17S. 87(1): definition of "authorised insurer" repealed (1.12.2001) by S.I. 2001/3649, arts. 1, 286(2)

F18S. 87(1): definition of "bank" in substituted (1.12.2001) by S.I. 2001/3649, arts. 1, 286(3)

F19Definition of “building society” inserted by Building Societies Act 1986 (c. 53, SIF 16), ss. 54(3)(a)(5), 120, Sch. 18, para. 11(5)

F20S. 87(1): words in definition of "building society" repealed (27.9.1999) by 1999 c. 22, ss. 48, 106, Sch. 7 para. 4, Sch. 15 Pt. II (with Sch. 14 paras. 7(2), 36(9)); S.I. 1999/2657, art. 2(a)(d)(ii)(a), Sch. 2 Pt. I

F21Words in s. 87(1) repealed (31.1.1997) by 1996 c. 23, s. 107(2), Sch. 4(with s. 81(2));S.I. 1996/3146, art. 3

F24Definitions in s. 87(1) omitted (19.11.1992) by virtue of S.I. 1992/2890, regs. 1(1), 12(1).

F25S. 87(1): definition of "office" inserted (6.4.2001) by S.I. 2001/1090, reg. 9, Sch. 5 para. 5

F27Definition in s. 87(1) repealed (5.11.1993) by 1993 c. 50, s. 1(1), Sch. 1 Pt. XIV.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

Marginal Citations

88 Saving for solicitors to public departments and City of London.E+W

(1)Nothing in this Act shall prejudice or affect any rights or privileges of the solicitor to the Treasury, any other public department, the Church Commissioners or the Duchy of Cornwall, or require any such officer or any clerk or officer appointed to act for him to be admitted or enrolled or to hold a practising certificate in any case where it would not have been necessary for him to be admitted or enrolled or to hold such a certificate if this Act had not been passed.

[F31(1A)The exemption from the requirement to hold a practising certificate conferred by subsection (1) above shall not apply to solicitors who are Crown Prosecutors.]

(2)Sections 31 and 32(1) shall not apply to, and nothing in this Act shall prejudice or affect any rights or privileges which immediately before the commencement of this Act attached to the office of, the Solicitor of the City of London.

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Amendments (Textual)

89 Consequential amendments, repeals, savings, etc.E+W

X1(1)The enactments specified in Schedule 3 shall have effect subject to the amendments there specified, being amendments consequential upon the provisions of this Act.

X1(2)The enactments specified in Schedule 4 are hereby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.

(3)In so far as any instrument or other document made, issued, served or kept or treated as having been or having effect as if made, issued, served or kept, or other thing done or treated as having been or having effect as if done, under or for the purposes of any of the enactments repealed by this Act (in this section referred to as “the repealed enactments”) could have been made, issued, served, kept or done under or for the purposes of a corresponding provision of this Act, it shall not be invalidated by the repeal but shall have effect as if made, issued, served, kept or done under or for the purposes of that corresponding provision; and anything begun under any of the repealed enactments may be continued under any corresponding provision of this Act as if begun under that provision.

(4)Any enactment or other document referring to any of the repealed enactments shall, so far as may be necessary for preserving its effect, be construed as referring to this Act or to the corresponding provision of this Act.

(5)References in any enactment or instrument to the disciplinary committee constituted under section 46 of the M3Solicitors Act 1957 shall be construed as references to the Tribunal.

(6)References in any enactment to solicitors, attorneys or proctors, or to the registrar of attorneys and solicitors or the registrar of solicitors, shall be construed as references to solicitors and to the Society respectively.

(7)F32. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(8)Nothing in this Act shall be taken as prejudicing the operation of [F33sections 16(1) and 17(2)(a) of the M4Interpretation Act 1978] (which relates to the effect of repeals).

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Editorial Information

X1The text of ss. 86, 89(1)(2), Sch. 3 paras. 4, 6, 8, and 9, and Sch. 4, is in the form in which it was originally enacted: it was not reproduced in Statutes in Force and, except as indicated, does not reflect any amendments or repeals which may have been made prior to 1.2.1991.

Amendments (Textual)

F33Words substituted by virtue of Interpretation Act 1978 (c. 30), s. 25(2)

Marginal Citations

90 Short title, commencement and extent.E+W

(1)This Act may be cited as the Solicitors Act 1974.

(2)This Act shall come into force on such day as the Lord Chancellor may by order made by statutory instrument appoint, not being earlier than the first day on which all the provisions of the M5Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1974 are in force.

(3)If any order made under section 19(7) of the M6Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1974 makes any savings from the effect of any provision of that Act which it brings into force, the order under subsection (2) may make corresponding savings from the effect of the corresponding provision of this Act.

(4)The provisions of this Act extend to England and Wales only, with the exception of—

(a)section 4(4) and the repeal of section 5(3) of the M7Solicitors Act 1957, which extend to Scotland;

(b)section 29 and the repeal of section I of the M8Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1974, which extend to Northern Ireland;

(c)sections 5(3) and 86, F34. . . and the repeals of section 5(2) of the Solicitors Act 1957 and paragraphs 1 and 5 of Schedule 2 to the M9Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1974, all of which extend both to Scotland and to Northern Ireland.

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Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C121.5.1975 appointed under s. 90(2) by S.I. 1975/534

Marginal Citations

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