The Legal Services Board (LSB) has today published its consultation on proposed new Internal Governance Rules (IGR) and accompanying statutory guidance.
With this final consultation we are proposing a number of changes to the current IGR. We want the new rules and guidance to enhance the separation and independence of regulatory functions within the current legislative framework. In addition, to make the IGR as clear as possible, the structure has been revamped and previous terms (such as “regulatory independence”) and distinctions (such as between “Applicable Regulators” and “Applicable Approved Regulators”) have been removed. Some of the rules are the same or similar but modified and some rules are new.
The accompanying Guidance explains the LSB’s expectations and should be clearer for each approved regulator on what we believe compliance will look like.
Legal Services Board Chief Executive, Neil Buckley said:
“The LSB has listened and responded to the views of approved regulators and regulatory bodies on the challenges they face in complying with their statutory duties and the current IGR. We have carefully considered their comments as well as our own knowledge and experience to develop a new set of rules and guidance.
We believe that regulation which is, and is seen to be, independent is central to maintaining confidence in legal services. The proposed IGR and Guidance reflect our commitment to achieving the highest level of independence available within the current legal framework.
The proposals reflect the LSB’s approach to regulation – they are principled and outcomes-focussed. The rules are targeted at the areas where experience has taught us that action is needed. The Guidance provides the detail and the clarity needed to ensure compliance.”
We are now seeking feedback on our proposals. The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday 21 January 2019.
For further information, please contact the LSB’s Communications Manager, Vincent McGovern (020 7271 0068).
Notes for editors:
- The Internal Governance Rules (IGR) have not been reviewed in full since they were introduced in 2010. A partial review – in relation to appointments and chairing arrangements – was carried out and amendments made in 2014.
- This consultation is the culmination of an in-depth and evidence-based review of the effectiveness of the current IGR through our previous consultation launched in November 2017 which resulted in the commitments we published in July 2018. In July we committed to delivering new IGR to provide clarity for approved regulators and regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with a complicated set of legal obligations and to robustly support the independence of legal regulation in a way that is clear for all to see and understand.
- 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 ten 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 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 Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
- In addition, the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
- is an approved regulator for probate activities only but does not currently authorise anyone to offer this service.
- 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.