Responding to the interim report from the Competition and Markets Authority legal services study, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said: “Those who represent a party cannot also regulate it. Measures that regulators could take to open up the market to competition are resisted by their representative arms, who naturally seek to protect the interests of their members.”
The comments are thinly veiled criticisms of the current structure, which retains the Law Society as the technical regulator of the profession, albeit delegating its authority to the SRA.
The society and the SRA are battling over the future shape of regulation. In its comments yesterday, the authority said that the current situation “leads to public confidence and trust in regulated providers being undermined”.
It went on to claim that complete separation for the SRA “would free up the professional bodies to become the voice of their members, without the restrictions of also acting as the regulator. It would also allow more flexibility for law firms and solicitors to decide how specific industry bodies, such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers or the City of London Law Society, can work alongside professional bodies to best meet their needs”.
The SRA maintained that “public polling shows that independent regulation would boost trust in solicitors”.