Thursday, 26 February 2015
LSB puts spotlight on regulation of in-house lawyers
The Legal Services Board (LSB) publishes today its discussion paper, Are regulatory restrictions in practising rules for in-house lawyers justified?
With this paper the LSB shows how regulatory arrangements for in-house practice vary across the regulators and with the minimum required by legislation. This paper invites comment on these findings, the impact of current arrangements, and on possible areas for improvement (see notes to editor’s point. 3).
Legal Services Board Chief Executive, Richard Moriarty,said:
"Some in-house lawyers are thinking about innovating and expanding their reach. The Legal Services Board is concerned that unnecessary restrictions on their ability to do so may have the potential to impose costs and red tape, frustrate choice and adversely affect access to justice. With over 25,000 in-house lawyers in England and Wales it is important that any restrictions on their practice be clearly justified."
For further information, please contact our Communications Manager Vincent McGovern or by calling 020 7271 0068.
- The discussion paper and further information on this process can be found here.
- This discussion paper presents an initial analysis of the current situation with a view to establishing how practising rules for in-house lawyers align with restrictions on employees on non-authorised employers provided in section 15 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act).
- Five specific questions are asked in this paper. Three of these questions are specifically aimed at the legal services regulators. The final two are for any other interested party who has a view on this matter.
Questions for regulators
i. What is the rationale to support your current approach to regulating in-house practice?
ii. If you have specific regulatory arrangements, how have you assured yourself that there is compelling evidence to support those arrangements?
iii. Having reflected on your specific regulatory arrangements, are there any areas you intend to remove or review?
Questions for interested parties
iv. What is your experience of current arrangements for in-house lawyers?
v. What, in your view, could be changed?
- The closing date for receipt of views is Friday 24 April 2015. The responses we receive will inform our final report and, if appropriate, any recommendations for future action.
- The Act created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB oversees nine approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are listed as approved regulators in relation only to reserved probate activities.
- As at 1 April 2014, the legal profession comprised 138,243 solicitors, 326 alternative business structures, 15,279 barristers, 7,927 chartered legal executives and 5,404 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The sector was valued at £29.2 billion in 2013 (total turnover).