LSB publishes future regulation proposals
The Legal Services Board (LSB) has published today a major set of proposals for the future of legal regulation.
The proposals form the LSB’s submission to the Ministry of Justice which is currently undertaking a review of the legal services regulatory framework. Responses have also been put forward by regulators and other interested bodies – notably the Law Society which proposed that it take over several of the functions currently undertaken by the SRA.
The proposals from the LSB amount in essence for a call for the scrapping of the reforms under the Legal Services Act and for the creation from scratch of a body focused on public interest, consumer rights and market efficiency.
The LSB argues that a next phase of reform is needed to:
- secure a liberalised market which offers greater innovation, choice and value and better supports domestic and export growth for legal services and in the wider economy, and
- tackle major risks to both public and consumer interest proportionately.
Specifically, the LSB proposes
- immediate action by the LSB and existing regulators to target regulation at identified risks and rolling back rules where this justification does not exist
- simplification of the legislative framework for legal services significantly over the next 2-3 years
- rights for consumers of all legal services to access the Legal Ombudsman and new freedoms for the Office for Legal Complaints to develop its services, and
- development of timetabled and costed proposals for a new framework in which a single legal services regulator unrelated to any existing regulator, including the LSB should be the core model to be tested.
A return to pure self-regulation by the professions alone is firmly dismissed.
Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds said:
“Our prescription does not turn the clock back. More not less change is needed in mechanisms for market entry; regulation needs to be further detached from the influence of the provider towards the consumer; and simplification at every level can be delivered.”