SRA calls for all legal services to be regulated
The SRA has called upon the Legal Services Board to ensure that all legal services are regulated so as to provide better protection for consumers.
In its response to the Board’s consultation, “Enhancing consumer protection, reducing regulatory restrictions”, the SRA has called for a fundamental review of the basis of the regulation of legal services in England and Wales, stating that the Board’s proposed approach, of an activity by activity review of the current reserved legal activities, will not address the significant problems that arise for consumers from the current systems.
Among the current problems highlighted by the SRA are:
- A lack of clarity for consumers about which legal services are regulated and which are not;
- A lack of consistent consumer protection and redress, not only between regulated and unregulated legal services but also between services regulated by different regulators;
- A lack of focus on quality, standards and ethical behaviour across all legal services;
- Increased regulatory cost in the system as a result of the multiplicity of regulators and level of resource required to manage the interactions between them.
SRA Chief Executive Antony Townsend said:
“We welcome the Legal Services Board’s consultation paper as an important opening contribution to the debate. We are keen to contribute to and take the debate forward.
“We believe the starting point for this review should be that all legal services should be regulated in the public interest and in the interests of consumers, rather than starting from a more narrowly based review of individual activities as proposed by the LSB. However, we accept that there is a case in the short term for the extension of reserved legal activities to specific activities such as will writing, while a wider review is undertaken.
“In order to help progress this debate we will shortly be organising a conference for those with an interest in this issue to come together and discuss the issues raised.”