The Legal Services Board has announced further details on how it plans to ensure regulation of legal services is independent from representing the legal professions.
A newly published consultation document explains that the LSB intends to monitor how well regulatory independence is being achieved by embedding it within the “well-led” standard of its existing regulatory performance assessment framework.
This follows the publication of LSB’s revised internal governance rules (IGR) in July 2019, which set out the requirements for the approved regulators of legal services to ensure the separation of regulatory and representative functions.
The LSB is consulting on whether its approach to monitoring is clear. The consultation closes on 3 April 2020.
Matthew Hill, Chief Executive of the Legal Service Board, said:
“Regulatory independence gives everyone confidence that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. Our Internal Governance Rules reflect our commitment to ensuring regulatory independence and we will now monitor performance closely to ensure the desired outcomes are being delivered. We encourage everyone with an interest to share their views on our planned approach with us.”
Notes to editor
- Consultation document on the LSB’s regulatory performance framework and proposed regulatory independence monitoring
- The new IGR and accompanying statutory guidance can be found on the LSB Rules and Guidance page
- The Legal Services Act 2007 obliges the LSB to make internal governance rules which set out requirements for each approved regulator to ensure the separation of regulatory and representative functions.
- 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 of 1 April 2018, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 146,600 solicitors, 16,600 barristers, 7,600 chartered legal executives and 6,000 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing (figures rounded to the closest hundred). The UK legal sector turnover was £33 billion per annum (2017) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012.