LSB updates rules to enhance regulatory independence


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24 July 2019

LSB updates rules to enhance regulatory independence 

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has today published its revised internal governance rules (IGR) and new accompanying statutory guidance, setting out the requirements for the approved regulators of legal services to ensure the separation of regulatory and representative functions.

The LSB has amended the IGR to enhance regulatory independence within the framework provided by the Legal Services Act 2007. The new IGR provide more clarity which should lead to fewer independence-related disputes and are more readily enforceable for speedier resolution of issues.

The revised IGR and guidance come into effect immediately. Approved regulators and regulatory bodies will have a maximum 12 month transition period in which to comply with the new rules.

Publication of the new rules, alongside the decision document and stakeholder responses to the LSB’s most recent consultations on the IGR, marks the conclusion of the LSB’s review of the existing rules, which were last updated in 2014.

Commenting on the new rules, the LSB’s Chief Executive, Neil Buckley, said:

“The LSB is grateful for the constructive feedback from approved regulators, regulatory bodies and other respondents throughout the process of reviewing the IGR. We have listened closely to feedback in responses to consultation and carefully considered what actions to take.

Independent regulation gives confidence to consumers, providers, investors and society as a whole that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. Regulatory independence also gives the providers of legal services the certainty they need to grow and innovate. The final IGR reflect our commitment to setting a new framework which delivers the highest level of regulatory independence within the current legislative framework.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact the LSB’s Communications Manager, Paul Nezandonyi (020 7271 0068).

Notes for editors:

  1. The new IGR and accompanying statutory guidance can be found on the LSB Rules and Guidance page
  2. The LSB’s consultations, stakeholder feedback and decision documents on the IGR can be found on our closed consultations page.
  3. 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.
  4. The 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

 


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