The President of the Law Society has suspended the chair of its Civil Justice Committee, but she has refused to accept his decision and claims that he does not have the power to remove her.

Sophie Khan, who is the solicitor-director of her own firm, was appointed chair of the Law Society's Civil Justice Committee in April 2017 after sitting as member for eight years. Its role is to promote the improvement of civil litigation and dispute resolution, and to provide guidance on those topics to the profession. Oh the irony.

In October last year Khan made a complaint against an individual in the Law Society. The nature of the complaint, the identity of the accused and whether Khan brought the grievance on behalf of herself or someone else have not been divulged.

When the Law Society commissioned a report into the complaint from a barrister that it uses regularly, Khan protested that the investigation should be carried out by an external, independent body. She disputed the report's findings in January 2018, but claimed that she was ignored. Until April, when Joe Egan, the President of the Law Society, wrote to Khan and informed her that he was suspending her.

But Khan has refused to accept the ruling from Egan, whom RollOnFriday revealed last year does not pay his trainees the Law Society's own recommended minimum salary. Khan claims that according to the Law Society constitution, Egan does not have the power to suspend her, or any committee members, or council members, or chairs. She insists that she will continue to lead the committee, including its upcoming meeting next week.


The farcical internecine feud is in full swing. On Monday a Law Society spokesman told RollOnFriday, “I can confirm the chair of the civil justice committee has been suspended”. But when RollOnFriday informed him on Tuesday that Khan had rejected the suspension and would be turning up for work regardless, he replied, "We do not comment on individual cases”, despite having done so a day earlier. He added, "Whenever concerns are brought to our attention we work hard to ensure issues are handled in an appropriate way with due consideration for our staff and for elected and appointed members".

RollOnFriday understands that Khan will take the matter to an employment tribunal if it was not resolved. In the meantime, the revelation that Egan has attempted to suspend one of his own committee chairs - and been ignored by her - represents the latest example of the impressive lengths to which the Law Society will go to provide its members with a case study.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 18 May 18 04:13

Out of interest what does the Law Society actually do? Does it have any powers to impose penalties like the SRA? Does it take in any public money? I get the impression that it is a bit like a members club where there are impressive wooden boards listing past presidents and clubman of the year etc. but meaningless unless you're in a colourful jacket.

Anonymous 18 May 18 09:50

Why did he not check the rules first before purportedly suspending her?
What was wronte with her suggestion of an independent investigation as we have heard time after time that sex pests, let us assume it is that here) are investigated by their male partners in crime and they all exonerate each other (like in those charity cases).

Anonymous 18 May 18 10:21

the depressing thought is that if it was any good, it would probably end up being the SRA's poodle.

Anonymous 18 May 18 11:06

It seems Sayre’s Law also applies to the Law Society: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low."

Anonymous 18 May 18 12:35

As far as I know Law Society Committee Chairs are not 'employed' - they are volunteers - so I'm not sure where an employment tribunal would come in here.....

Anonymous 18 May 18 12:58

It isn't known whether Khan's complaint was a 'sex pest' allegation, nor what the 'suspension' is for.

Roll On Friday 18 May 18 13:27

"Out of interest what does the Law Society actually do?"

It writes reports for the government on how they could better restrict access to justice and wind down the profession of solicitor then 6 later it starts panicing about how irrelevant it has become and wondering why nobody buys it's half arsed courses and so tries to back track like a sort of bloody tuna that's been hauled onto a fishing boat and is now gasping for air and trying to get back into the sea

Anonymous 01 June 18 10:58

Here is a link to HHJ McKenna's judgement in Francisquini -v- London Borough of Southwark on Westlaw (paywalled). There are interesting comments about Ms Khan in paragraphs 9 and 12.

Anonymous 02 June 18 12:07

In the election papers for law society council she says “some of you will kmow me as Chair” seems a tad misleading if she’s suspended!

Anonymous 03 June 18 15:11

Was the suspension valid? Khan argued that Egan didn't have the power to suspend her and that she would attend the committee meeting which took place last week.

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