LSB Chair warns of need to prepare for change
Sir Michael Pitt, in his first speech as Chairman of the Legal Services Board, has expressed the view that the time has come to address weaknesses in the Legal Services Act 2007, to take a long hard look at legal services regulation and to tailor legal services and reduce their costs to meet the needs of small business and people who are neither wealthy nor eligible for legal aid.
Speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum event “The future of legal services regulation”, Sir Michael said that the consequences of the weaknesses in the Legal Services Act can no longer be ignored and need to be discussed and addressed.
He stated his belief that the time is now right to take a long hard look at legal services regulation so that when the attention of politicians return once more to the legal system, the legal sector itself will be prepared for what comes next. A lack of a consensus on how to proceed risks missing an opportunity.
Stressing that more needs to be done to tailor legal services and reduce their costs to meet the needs of small business and people who are neither wealthy nor eligible for legal aid – Sir Michael suggests that consumer interest, risk and a focus on evidence should be amongst the highest priorities for regulators and practitioners.
On the positive side he said that this country enjoy an international reputation for the quality of our courts and legal services which are second to none helping make this country “a great place to do business”. He went on to say that “over the last six years the number of regulated lawyers increased by 11% to 166,583. Last year, the UK legal services sector grew to an annual turnover of £29 billion; up 15% in six years. Over the same period exports of legal services grew by 18%.”
“However,” he said “not everything is positive. Many aspects of the legal sector are still far from perfect and both lawyers and consumers face challenges”.
The full text of Sir Michael’s speech can be found on the LSB web site