LSB vision for legal services regulation

LSB vision for legal services regulation

12 September 2016

Today the Legal Services Board (LSB) has released a paper detailing its recommendations for legislative reform to the regulatory framework for legal services.

Responding to the report, a CILEx spokesperson said: “We welcome the LSB’s contribution to the debate on the future of legal services regulation. Their report, alongside the CMA’s market study, and the Government’s consultation on increasing regulatory independence, will inform our ongoing collaboration with CILEx Regulation as we prepare for the future.

“We are particularly encouraged to see that the LSB’s paper is underpinned by the consumer interest, and a proportionate risk-based approach to regulation by activity. This follows the same approach to regulation that our specialist lawyers already operate under; outcomes focused CPD, authorisation by specialism, and right-touch regulation for entities based on their risk profile. As such we see a positive future for CILEx in this model; providing specialist qualifications that are based in real-world legal practice, and giving consumers the reassurance that a CILEx specialist lawyer will meet their needs.

“There are some issues that still need clarification; the process for reviewing and risk-assessing which activities are subject to regulation, a more detailed exploration of the use of professional titles, and how the integral issues of access to justice and protection of the rule of law remain a focus for any regulator. We are particularly keen to ensure that any future regulatory model retains the specialism and diversity we currently have, which is especially important for more specialist regulated communities such as Chartered Legal Executives. It is also important to ensure that vulnerable clients, who are disproportionately poorer, do not end up footing the bill for regulation because their risk profile leads to enhanced regulatory costs, and we hope to see measures that will specifically address this issue. 

“In the coming months CILEx will consider what secondary objectives we feel should sit alongside the overarching regulatory objective of safeguarding the public interest and consumers, and delivering outcomes in the interests of society as a whole. Already though we would recommend that any legal services regulators should have an explicit objective to maintain both their independence, and the independence of the profession. The public expect their legal professional to operate in a fair, even and independent manner, which is integral to the effective administration of justice and the protection of the rule of law.”