The Legal Services Board (LSB) – the independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales – has published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year 2016/17. The document was laid before Parliament today, 13 July 2017.
The report describes the impact that the LSB has had in delivering the second year of the LSB’s 2015-18 strategic plan. It illustrates strong continuity from previous years in the work that the LSB has undertaken carrying out its statutory functions on time and to budget. The report highlights four aspects of the LSB’s work, in particular:
- standards and our ongoing work to hold legal services regulators and the Office for Legal Complaints to account for their performance
- regulatory independence and the steps we have taken to ensure that regulation is structurally, legally and culturally independent of both the profession and government
- diversity and our belief that a more diverse profession will support the better delivery of legal services and encourage innovation in the sector, and
- our research which is essential to the work we do and which provides comprehensive and independent evidence of developments in the legal services sector.
Legal Services Board’s Chief Executive Neil Buckley said:
“This 2016/17 annual report describes the work the Legal Services Board has completed and the impact we have had in delivering the second year of our 2015-18 strategic plan. Progress has been made in this period but, as ever, more remains to be done.
One of the key developments in the last year has been the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) legal services market study report. The LSB’s views and our significant research output contributed meaningfully to the CMA’s report and its conclusions reflect our own vision for the future of legal services regulation in England and Wales. We have already started work with the regulators implementing its recommendations.
Finally, I would like to thank Sir Michael Pitt for the work he did during his time as Chairman of the Legal Services Board”
For further information, please contact the LSB’s Communications Manager, Vincent McGovern (020 7271 0068).
Notes for editors:
- The Annual Report can be found here.
- The LSB was set up on 1 January 2009. It took on its full powers on 1 January 2010 and each year since then we have consistently reduced our running costs. In 2016/17 our costs were more than 25% lower than our first normal year of operations (2010/11).
- The LSB is a small organisation. As of 31 March 2017 the LSB had 24 full time employees and 9 part time employees. 67% of the staff complement were women.
- The LSB operates at nil cost to the public purse and its expenditure in 2016/17 was £3,525m against a budget of £3,998m resulting in an under spend of £0.473m. 100% of this under spend will be used to reduce the levy for the approved regulators for the coming year.
- The total amount levied per person authorised to undertake reserved legal activities for the 2016/17 period is £18.83. This is down from £34.38 in 2010/11.
- The Legal Services Act 2007 (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 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the General Council of the Bar, 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 and the Association of Costs Lawyers. They have subsequently being joined as an approved regulator by 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 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £31 billion per annum (2016) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.