CILEx Chair comments on Legal Services Consumer Panel Report

19 January 2021

CILEx Chair, Professor Chris Bones, comments on Legal Services Consumer Panel report 


In response to the Legal Services Consumer Panel report on the experiences of consumers from different ethnic backgrounds, Professor Chris Bones, the chair of CILEx says:

“If we can unite around anything as a nation it is in a belief in the rule of law. What underpins this is the need for every citizen to have confidence not just in the justice system, but also in the firms and individuals who operate within it.

“It is clear that if you are from a BAME background this is not the case as is demonstrated in today’s report. The findings are yet another wake-up call for a sector that is failing to deliver for all citizens regardless of who they are or where they come from. Consumers deserve a legal profession that reflects the society it serves, and yet the sector continues to appear remote, uniform and unrepresentative of wider society. To have made so little progress in the five years that have passed since the Panel’s previous report, is simply embarrassing.
 
“Whilst the roots of the problems identified in this report are complex and not all associated with the attitudes and behaviour of lawyers, there is no doubt that in the experiences described, lawyers play a significant role. There are two actions that can be taken now by government and employers in the legal services sector that could help to transform attitudes to the law in BAME communities:

  • Remove the barriers that stop many BAME lawyers from delivering a full range of services: this would enable thousands of lawyers from diverse backgrounds to offer legal services providing far greater choice in the market
  • Remove the elitism from recruitment programmes in many law firms so that non-traditionally qualified lawyers, many of whom come from BAME communities, are given the opportunity to be appointed to roles at all levels, helping accelerate the development of a genuinely diverse profession.

“It will only be when we see those working in legal services drawn from a wider range of backgrounds, bringing with them different perspectives and life experiences, that trust and satisfaction levels will begin to improve.”


ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 0203 567 1208 or email:

louise.eckersley@blacklettercommunications.co.uk

Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 07525 756 599 or email:

kerry.jack@blacklettercommunications.co.uk