David Greene took office as the 176th president of the Law Society of England and Wales yesterday in the first ever streamed inauguration ceremony held by Chancery Lane.
“I am honoured to be able to serve as Law Society president. I take on the role at a difficult time for the legal profession, and society as a whole, as the world continues to face the huge challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Greene.
“The Law Society has worked ardently with government and agencies to meet the myriad of challenges thrown up by the pandemic. I want to ensure that great work continues.
“Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, has reinforced the importance of upholding the rule of law, which will be an essential theme of my year. The principles that we stand by are reinforced when our members in immigration and criminal practice are attacked for doing their job of upholding the law and rights granted by it. Completion of the Brexit process continues to present challenges that we must face and deal with.
“Access to justice remains a priority as under-funding in the justice system and legal aid are exacerbated by the pandemic, with backlogs in the courts leaving defendants, victims and witnesses facing long delays before trials can be heard.
“I will also focus on supporting lawyers across the world who are persecuted and threatened for their commitment to the system of justice.”
David will continue with the campaign work carried out by Simon Davis for greater diversity and gender equality in the profession.
“It is vital that the profession and the judiciary reflect the modern world we live in. It is essential that barriers to entry are removed to encourage and enhance all people of talent,” he added.
“I also intend to focus on promoting the provision of public legal education to improve citizens’ ability to understand how the law affects them, as well as monitoring the impact of emergency legislation – introduced during the Covid-19 crisis – on vulnerable people in our society.
“I will be working to promote the UK legal sector and the maintenance of the jurisdiction as a global legal centre. Leaving the EU adds to uncertainty but the common law and this jurisdiction continue to provide the certainty necessary for international commerce.
“We are all adapting to the new environment and no doubt there are many permanent changes but the need for an industrious, independent and diverse profession is as strong as it ever was.”
David Greene is a senior partner, litigator and claimant’s practitioner at Edwin Coe, who focuses on commercial disputes and public law. He qualified in 1980, became a partner at Edwin Coe in 1984 and senior partner in 2011.
He is well-known for his work on Brexit, having acted for one of the two claimants in the Article 50 litigation.
David has been a member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee and the Civil Justice Council. He has authored and contributed to many legal works and is consultant editor of the New Law Journal.