The Law Society is taking a fresh look at its links with the College of Law in London after an academic threatened to complain about their "special relationship" to the Office of Fair Trading.
Law Society officials confirmed this week they were giving "serious consideration" to calls from Nigel Savage, dean of Nottingham Trent University's law school, for a review of connections between the society and the college.
Professor Savage believes that the college, set up in 1962 by the Law Society, which has eight of its council members on the college board of governors, should either "come clean" about the relationship and declare itself the official college of the Law Society or sever the link and become completely independent.
He argues that there is a "conflict of interest" in ties between the society, which regulates the legal practice course, and the college, which is in competition with 26 other course providers.
He has also questioned an arrangement whereby the college guarantees places for law students from 25 universities, although the students are free to accept places elsewhere. The links gave it "an unfair edge in the market over other institutions," he said.
Roger Jones, chairman of the Law Society's training committee, confirmed that Professor Savage's criticisms were under consideration. "A view is going to be taken as to the appropriate way forward," he said.
Richard Holbrook, chairman of the college's board of management, said there was nothing to hide: "It may well be the case that we have an advantage as a result. But at the end of the day what determines whether people come to us is the quality of the product."