The Legal Services Board (LSB) welcomes today’s publication by the Competition and Markets Authority(CMA) of its final legal services market study report and recommendations.
Legal Services Board Chairman, Sir Michael Pitt, said:
“I welcome today’s Competition and Market Authority report on the legal services market in England and Wales. This study was commissioned because of long-standing concerns that we have previously highlighted through our work about both the affordability and quality of legal services on offer. The conclusions it reaches align with our own which is that the legal services is not working well enough for consumers and small businesses and that the current regulatory framework is unsustainable in the long run.
The recommendations of this important report are intended to be a catalyst for changes to support consumers and small businesses in making informed choices – and in galvanising a step-change in the legal services sector’s competitiveness.
The dual focus on market transparency and structural reform is essential. In particular we are pleased that there are recommendations to the Ministry of Justice for action on regulatory independence and the need for wider reform of the Legal Services Act. These are central elements of our own vision for the future of legal services regulation, as we set out earlier this year.
We are pleased that the CMA’s prescription for change will build actions already taken by the LSB and has the potential to further empower consumers, unlock growth and reduce the significant unmet need that persists in this key segment of the UK’s economy.
We will study the report carefully and respond formally in due course.”
For further information, please contact the LSB’s Communications Manager, Vincent McGovern (020 7271 0068).
Notes for editors:
1. All Legal Service Board (LSB) research can be found here.
2. The CMA’s final report and recommendations can be found here.
3. The CMA’s interim report and further information more information please see here.
4. The LSB’s initial response, and subsequent comments, to the CMA regarding this study can be found here.
5. The LSB’s Vision Paper for legislative reform of the regulatory framework for legal services in England and Wales can be found here.
6. 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.
7. 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 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 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.
8. As at 1 April 2016, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 145,059 solicitors, 15,288 barristers, 6,848 chartered legal executives and 5,697 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £32 billion per annum (2015) which is up 23% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.