Law Society to probe historical slave trade links

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Research proposed by Society’s BAME network

The Law Society, Chancery Lane

The Law Society of England and Wales is to investigate its historical relationship with slavery, it has been announced.

The almost 200-year old institution has said it will commission research to understand the extent to which it may have “supported, financed, facilitated or benefitted — either directly or indirectly — from historic slavery and colonialism through its activities during the 19th and early 20th century”.

The Law Society’s origins date back to around 1739, with the establishment of the ‘Society of Gentlemen Practisers’. The Practisers were the first association of attorneys and solicitors created to protect the interests and enhance the conduct of the profession.

The Society’s more immediate origins trace back to 1823 when solicitors called for the formation of the ‘London Law Institution’. The Institution would raise the reputation of the profession by setting standards and ensuring good practice. By 1825, ‘London’ was dropped from the title to reflect the Institution’s national aspirations, and the Society was founded as ‘The Society of Attorneys, Solicitors, Proctors and others not being Barristers, practising in the Courts of Law and Equity of the United Kingdom’.

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The Society received its first royal charter in 1831, and opened a new building on London’s Chancery Lane, its current premises, the following year. A new royal charter in 1845 defined the Society as an independent, private body servicing the affairs of the profession.

In 1903, the Society changed its official name to ‘The Law Society’.

The Law Society said:

“Our research, which will involve an investigation of historical documents, archives and the Law Society’s own collection, will document the relationship of the organisation and its key figures with historical slavery and colonialism. The research was proposed by the Law Society’s black and minority ethnic (BAME) network and will be overseen by a steering group of members of the network.”

The Law Society said it will share and discuss the findings in the autumn.

The investigation comes as a number of City law firms were found to have past links to the slave trade.

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Good to see LS resources being devoted to a project that cannot possibly conclude in any way other than “we found some links, we are very sorry, we’ll put some more resources into the BAME fund (which will presumably be spent on more projects like this) and do nothing else”.

Suppose it will provide gainful employment to 5 or 6 20/30 somethings for the next 6 months…


Young Garrick Member

What utter drivel.



This is getting pathetic now. If there were links, so what? Stop pandering to extremists.


Auditor of common sense

You’d think the Law Society’s black and minority ethnic (BAME) network could come up with something more useful to actually help people from ethnic minority backgrounds pursue legal careers, rather than just a bit of virtue signalling and obsessing with the past.

I’m sure for the money that will be spent on this they could fund at least a couple of full time school liaison officers to tour schools and provide useful advice/information to kids from backgrounds who often don’t pursue legal careers (be they ethnic minority or not), which would achieve far more.



You, sir, have just earned yourself a like.


Roll the Eyes

In the 18th and perhaps 19th century, some of its members must have drafted contracts for the purchase and sale of slaves.

So it’s undoubtedly guilty and needs to make reparations.


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