Regulators to collaborate

Collaboration preferred to a Legal Education Council, say legal regulators

18 October 2013

CILEx President with Regulatory ChairsThe Chairs of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) have all dismissed setting up a Legal Education Council (LEC) as proposed in the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR).

However, Charles Plant, Baroness Ruth Deech and Alan Kershaw respectively all spoke in favour of greater collaboration, with Mr. Kershaw proposing an initial project to agree shared competency standards for lawyers.

The move towards greater collaboration was welcomed by Chris Kenny, CEO of the Legal Services Board (LSB), who during the discussion said the LEC was “not worth pursuing” and confirmed that the LSB had no intention of taking on the LEC role itself.

Mr Kershaw said: “The LETR was an excellent review that in a positive way set lots of hares running. There is a clear desire from us as regulators to work together, which is critical to maintain consumer protection and standards as old distinctions between the legal professions continue to blur and the market demands greater specialism from lawyers.”

City Hall LondonThe three chairs took part in a panel discussion at the LETR Summit held yesterday at the London Mayor’s offices in City Hall, convened by IPS and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

The Summit also heard from;

- Diane Burleigh OBE, CEO of CILEx

- Stephen Gowland, CILEx President

- John Jones, Council Member for the Council for Licensed Conveyancers

- Tony King, Chair of Clifford Chance Academy

- Maura McGowan QC, Chair of the Bar Council

- Simon Thornton-Wood, Head of Education & Training for BSB

- Sarah Thwaites, Deputy CEO for Financial & Legal Skills Partnership

- Professor Julian Webb, Lead author of the LETR

- Neil Wightman, Panel Member from the Legal Services Consumer Panel

- John Wotton, Chair of the Law Society’s Education & Training Committee and past Law Society President.

Discussions were held on the competencies needed to qualify and how to ensure ongoing competency, as well as on CPD, ethics and professionalism, diversity and new routes to qualification, including apprenticeships.