09 November 2017

Blog from the outgoing Chair – Keith Conway – November 2016


It is 8 months since my last Blog and others/committee chairs have since blogged.

This Thursday evening at the The Ironmongers’ Hall, (Shaftesbury Place, Barbican) we have the Annual Dinner, preceded by our AGM at 7pm – be there or be square!

My year – which has really flown past – ends on Thursday but I have no doubt the very good work will continue and is in very capable hands.

I wanted my year to be about a number of firsts which I mentioned at the Annual Conference in March and in my last Blog.

The wins this year are as follows:

* First blog followed by a number of blogs

* Feedback suggests that the County Courts have been answering their phones and most are more quickly acknowledging their post – however, obtaining a substantive response to longer and more complex enquiries is still too haphazard; and obtaining hearing dates, particularly before District Judges, appears not to have improved – in fact in CLCCT it is getting even more prolonged – what do you say to your clients about this and the efficiency and increasing cost of the County Courts?

* The backlogs and response times appear to have shortened – so perhaps our Report has had some effect!

* We are continuing to engage with the MOJ and HMCTS and they have made noises to us that any overhauled £700m new systems for 2020 will be pre-discussed with us.  We will certainly make it our business to try and get HMCTS to take on board your concerns as a one fit solution is unlikely to suit many property litigation claims!

* LRC have responded to the myriad of consultations.  Most recently to that of the Land Registry and the Law Commission’s 13th Programme of Law Reform.  This dealt with proposals for reforms of the 1995 Act, Leasehold Enfranchisement, L&T 1987 Act – Right of First Refusal, L&T 1985 – S20 Consultation Requirements, Right to Manage – CLRA2002, Rentcharges and Break Rights – see LRC pages.

* A contract to rework our website has been placed after a comprehensive competitive tender process.  This will provide a multi-function fit and much enhanced search facilities and better member functions.

* The Regions and JPLA have both run many more events.  Some have been linked into and mirrored similar events in London.  Some have been E&T focussed and others more networking and social.  Unsurprisingly, they always involve drinks and some food too!

* E&T ran the Annual Training Day last week which was – I thought – stunningly good – do you agree? – they have a great conference planned for March 2017.  They continue to look to expand the Conference and to cater for your needs.  I expect exciting developments in this regard very shortly!

* A further first was our joint event with CRELA – we anticipate more!

* A small pleasure for me are our new magnetic badges.  Wow – they just make me feel professional.

* Another first is that the Main Committee unanimously nominated Suzanne Lloyd-Holt as our first honorary member.  She kindly agreed to lead the judging of the Alan Langleben Memorial Essay Competition – the winner of which will be announced at the Annual Dinner.  The entries were of a very high standard and Alan would definitely have approved and would be proud of our continued achievements.

* There is so much more I would like to detail about the work done in my year but instead I will move on being very content with my term.

* My final words are of thanks.  Thanks to the Executive Committee and all sub-Committee Members.  They have all supported me and worked ceaselessly.  In the same vein thanks to Tim Power and Mary Block for their unstinting support.

Lastly, thanks to all of you!  Please do get involved and give us the feedback and information – it is our “rocket fuel”.  You cannot comment enough – to enable us to continue to raise the effectiveness and visibility of the PLA.

I hope to see you all soon and hope you have learnt something useful from this quick blog.

– If you get to the bar before me, my preferred tipple is a good scotch!

Bye for now!!!