Legal Regulation Review

Premature overhaul of super-regulator ‘not in public interest’ say CILEx and IPS

10 September 2013Ministry of Justice

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS), the regulatory body for CILEx members, have said the concept of reserving legal activities to only authorised persons should be scrapped. In its place all activities should be regulated for the benefit of the consumer.

Responding to the Ministry of Justice Review of Legal Services Regulation, the professional association for vocationally trained lawyers also said consolidation of the various statutes and orders is needed, but that it was too early to consider introducing a single regulator as the overarching regulatory framework for legal services has not had time to ‘bed in.’

The response made several observations, including:

  • It is not in the public interest to consider the abolition of the Legal Services Board (LSB) at such a relatively early stage;
  • It is imperative the LSB avoids developing into an expensive, bureaucratic burden on the profession, and ultimately the consumer. It should exist as a flexible oversight regulator;
  • There should be a review of the level at which the LSB requires approval of rule changes, ensuring it adopts a more flexible approach;
  • The Legal Services Consumer Panel needs to consider its definition of ‘consumer’ to ensure all consumer sectors are taken into account, and to support Approved Regulators and regulatory bodies on consumer issues.
  • The highly prescriptive nature of the Legal Services Act 2007 is a disincentive for regulators to modernise their regulatory arrangements, and may prevent such regulatory arrangements moving at market pace. Such over prescription defeats the primary objectives of an outcomes focused regime;
  • The complexity of the regulatory landscape means consolidation is appropriate and we would recommend that consideration is given to a referral to the Law Commission;
  • The concept of reserved legal activities should be abolished and replaced by a single concept of regulated legal activities.

The consultation response stated: “Given the complexity of the regulatory landscape and its legislative underpinning, a review of the legislation by the Law Commission would be a helpful way forward. It would certainly be in the interests of the consumer, whose protection is not advanced by the present maze.”

It continues: “Any consolidation should be dynamic. Regulation requires constant evolution in order to keep up with changes and developments in the market.”

You can read the full response here.