Louise Woodward was jailed in 1997 for life in Boston, for the murder of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen while working in the city as an au pair. The charge was later reduced to involuntary manslaughter and she was released after spending almost a year in prison. Now Woodward has been given the green light to become a lawyer by the UK Law Society.

Woodward, who is currently completing her LPC course at Manchester Metropolitan University, has been accepted as a student member of the Law Society after the regulator held an exceptional meeting to assess her case.

The society’s exceptional applications casework committee (EACC) considered her application over the summer and had to decide whether she was of “fit and suitable character” to practise law. Her application was approved late last year.

This means that, as long as Woodward passes her exams and gets accepted onto a training contract, she will face no more barriers to becoming a solicitor.

“Once [the society has] said someone is suitable to become a student member, unless that person’s foot faults between then and when they apply for admission… [the society] cannot then pull back two years down the line,” one Chancery Lane insider said.

In a related move, Chancery Lane is also now reviewing its policy on admissions to the profession.

Although solicitors must be of “fit and suitable character”, the society has not defined what that means and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Last year the society was criticised by a judge following the conviction of Tokunbo Oknola for the attempted murder of his wife. Oknola had qualified and practised as a solicitor after having been released under licence in 1977 having served a life sentence for murder.

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