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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you can't find an answer to your question about the LSB on this website please email us at: contactus@legalservicesboard.org.uk and we will try to help.

  • Why was the LSB created?
    The 2001 Office for Fair Trading report, Competition in the Professions, identified a number of issues that had the potential to disadvantage consumers in the legal services sector. Following that work, Sir David Clementi undertook an independent review of the regulatory framework for legal services in England and Wales. His 2004 report highlighted the need for a new oversight body to bring much-needed consistency and clarity to the regulation of lawyers, and a sharper focus on the interests of consumers. That body, the Legal Services Board, was subsequently established under the Legal Services Act 2007. The Act sets up a framework that includes eight regulatory objectives which will ensure a clear focus on regulation in the public interest.

  • How is the LSB paid for?
    A principle underlying the Legal Services Act is that the legal profession should pay for the LSB and the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC), which is the body that provides the Legal Ombudsman service. Accordingly, the LSB is required to impose a levy on the approved regulators and that levy covers the full cost of running the LSB and OLC.

  • How much does the LSB cost and what is the size of the LSB?
    The LSB’s operational budget for the year 2014/15 is £4,298k. We have a small team of 30 staff all based in Holborn, plus nine Board Members including the Chief Executive.

  • Does the LSB cover the entire United Kingdom?
    No. The LSB is the oversight regulator for legal services in England and Wales. Its remit does not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland.

  • Is the LSB really independent?
    The LSB is independent both of government and the profession. Our Board has a lay Chairman and a lay majority, meaning that its membership brings to the table the perspective of non-lawyers. While the LSB is part of the public sector, it operates independently of government. This was important as maintenance of the rule of law was thought to depend on the regulation of lawyers being handled independently of government.

  • Is the LSB the same as The Law Society?
    No. The Law Society is the professional representative body for solicitors in England and Wales. The LSB oversees the work of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is the independent regulatory arm of The Law Society.
  • How many lawyers are there?
    As at 1 April 2015 the number of persons authorised to undertake reserved legal activities by their respective regulator were:
    • 142,109 Solicitors with practising certificates (138,243 in 2014)
    • 15,237 practising Barristers (15,279 in 2014)
    • 7,848 practising members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Most Legal Executives work for Solicitors’ firms, although a few work independently from Solicitors (7,927 in 2014)
    • 1,262 Licensed Conveyancers in England and Wales (1,222 in 2014)
    • 872 registered Trade Mark Attorneys (794 in 2014) and 2,060 United Kingdom registered Patent Attorneys (2,034 in 2014)
    • 792 Notaries (794 in 2014) and 598 authorised Law Costs Draftsmen (562 in 2014)
  • How can I become a lawyer?
    Entry to the legal profession has become highly competitive, with those wishing to enter greatly outnumbering the places available. We have been working collaboratively with approved regulators and Skills for Justice to developing a map of the current qualification routes and create profiles of each branch of the legal profession which falls under the oversight regulation of the LSB. Each profile appears in the legal services section of Skills for Justice Career Pathways portal which provides information on careers within the justice system.