LSB review of regulation and reform

Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon said: ‘We agree with the LSB that broadly speaking the legal regulatory system is working effectively. The system is relatively new and changes are still being embedded. 

‘We do have a vision for the future of legal services regulation and if there were to be a whole-scale and thoughtful review, we think that there is an opportunity for simpler and better regulation.

‘Currently we think the definition of regulation is too broad and should not include professional standards, legal education and training and entry into the profession and awarding the professional title of solicitor, which we think should sit with the profession that knows what good looks like and can drive higher standards.

‘This would leave the regulator to get on with setting independent regulatory rules that consistently apply to the legal services market. Simpler and better regulation would reduce costs while providing more consistent protection for consumers.’

She added that the solicitors’ profession ‘has a great track record of innovation and creativity in a changing market’.

Bar chairman Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said the report ‘contains some mixed messages’. 

While the LSB has identified innovations, the rise in ‘DIY justice’ is a concern. She also said that the report ‘fails to highlight the difference between barristers and other legal service providers, such as solicitors. Given the high volume of work carried out by barristers through the referral model, the report leaves a gap in its account of the legal services market today’.

Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said that the report showed ‘there is still a long way to go, particularly to improve choice and deal with the problem of unmet legal need. We believe that our reforms will increase access to high quality, affordable legal services by getting rid of unnecessary bureaucracy and further promoting competition’.

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