Legal Services Board

LSB News

Issue 3 :: Spring 2014

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Legal Services Board: Chief Executive's Introduction

Welcome to this third edition of LSB news.

A couple of important developments have occurred in the legal services market since the last edition of LSB news (emailed on 6 February 2014). Not least amongst them is the fact that it's almost all change at the LSB with the appointment of a new Chair, new Board members and a new Strategy Director.

On the regulatory front we've put out decisions on lay chairs, and how they are appointed, that we think will have a meaningful impact on independent regulation. We've also issued guidance on education and training, which we hope will assist regulators when they take their next steps, and our business plan for 2014/15. While at the start of May, the Government issued its response to last summer's call for evidence on legal services regulation.

As with previous editions, I hope that you will find this bulletin informative and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you wish to discuss any of the issues highlighted in more detail.

- Chris Kenny, CEO

(l-r) Chris Kenny, David Edmonds, Sir Mike Pitt

(L-R) LSB Chief Executive Chris Kenny, outgoing LSB Chair David Edmonds, newly appointed LSB Chair Sir Mike Pitt

New Appointments

Sir Michael Pitt has been appointed as the new Chair of the Legal Services Board, taking over from David Edmonds CBE who stepped down on 30 April. The Lord Chancellor, in making the appointment, stated that "He [Sir Michael] brings with him experience which will be invaluable to the LSB as it moves forward in its important work overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales".

Two new Board members joined the LSB. Marina Gibbs, who is a Director of Competition Policy at Ofcom, and David Eveleigh, who is General Counsel of BT Plc's Global Services division, joined as new non-executive Board members on 1 April.

They fill vacancies left by the terms of Barbara Saunders OBE and Andrew Whittaker coming to an end and Stephen Green stepping across to take the position of Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints (see Newsletter 2). Biographies can be found here.

We also welcome to the LSB in May our new Strategy Director, Caroline Wallace, who joins us from the Competition Commission.

LSB Business Plan 2014/15

In early April we published our 2014/15 business plan. In it we set out the work we will do in this the final year of our three-year strategic plan.

This year, alongside our core statutory responsibilities, our emphasis will be on continuing our attack on burdensome, disproportionate and growth-restricting regulation. This ties in with the response of the Government to the review of legal services regulation (see news item 5 below).

The LSB believes that delivering real progress in this area is critical if we are to strip unnecessary cost out of the legal economy - cost that bears down on business and is inevitably passed on to consumers.

As such, we believe that the pace of change needs to speed up if the benefits of legal services reform are to be delivered to business and consumers alike.

More information can be found here.

Lay Chairs

In late February we issued a direction that all new appointments to the role of chair in the largest legal regulatory bodies must be lay persons.

Following a consultation with the profession we amended the Internal Governance Rules (IGRs) to require lay chairs for regulatory bodies as it provides a workable and proportionate route to increased independence in legal services.

Responding to an issue raised by a response to the lay chairs consultation, we have also consulted directed that regulatory authorities themselves must be responsible for the appointments and reappointments process for board members and their chairs.

As with the lay chairs decision, we believe that this will also contribute to greater independence which, in turn, will help safeguard the delivery of the regulatory objectives aligned to the principles of better regulation.

Commenting on the changes, former Chair of the LSB, David Edmonds, said: "independent regulation is central to the aims of the 2007 Legal Services Act. These decisions to require lay chairs, and a more independent appointments process for regulatory bodies, represent a significant and sensible step towards embedding and strengthening independence in legal services regulation".

The amended legal sector IGRs can be found here..

Statutory Guidance on Education and Training

LETR Cover

In early March the LSB issued statutory guidance for education and training. This was issued in advance of regulators proceeding with detailed plans for implementation of the Legal Education and Training Review.

The guidance recommends:

  • education and training requirements focusing on what an individual must know, understand and be able to do at the point of authorisation
  • providers of education and training having the flexibility to determine how to deliver training, education and experience that meets the outcomes required
  • standards being set that find the right balance between what is required at the point of authorisation and what can be fulfilled through ongoing competency requirements
  • regulators placing no inappropriate direct or indirect restrictions on the numbers entering the profession.

We put out this guidance because our view is that a liberalised legal services market will function more effectively if there is a more flexible labour market and we believe that this can - and must - be achieved without compromising professional standards.

For more information please click here.

Government Response to Review of Legal Services Regulation

Screenshot of Red Tape Review website

The Government published its response to last summer's call for evidence on legal services regulation on the 24 April. In a nutshell, the Government has said there is to be no fundamental rethink of the regulatory regime for the legal profession at present, although it recognises the case made by many stakeholders for action in the medium-term.

In a written statement to Parliament, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice Shailesh Vara MP said that there "was no consensus on the longer term vision for regulation". He said that "the call for evidence did not reveal any options for government to reduce regulatory burdens on legal service practitioners, or to simplify the regulatory framework without primary legislation".

He continued by stating that "in light of the above, the government has decided not to take forward any changes to the statutory framework at this time" and would instead be writing to "the Legal Services Board, the approved regulators and regulators, expressing this strong desire to quickly take forward work to reduce regulatory burdens for legal service practitioners...".

Responding to this, Sir Michael Pitt has said: "I welcome the emphasis on growth, simplification and deregulation in the Government's response. Those themes are already central to the LSB work programme for 14/15 and I have been heartened in my early contacts to see regulators also embracing the necessary changes.

The LSB remains committed to making the maximum progress possible with our partners within the current fragmented and complex framework, but changes to primary legislation will eventually be needed to ensure a clear and consistent framework which moves at market pace."

Updates on other matters


The legal challenge being mounted to the High Court's Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates judicial review decision continues to stagger on. The Court of Appeal had refused permission to appeal the High Court's decision but, following an oral hearing, leave to appeal has been granted. This appeal is set to start on 16 July 2014.


The designation application recommendations the LSB made to the Lord Chancellor and which we informed readers of in the last edition have been accepted. The Lord Chancellor has approved the recommendations for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (here and here), the Chartered Institute for Legal Executives (here), the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (here) and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys here). The Lord Chancellor has made a number of orders to this effect which are in the process of being laid before Parliament.

Jeffrey Review of Advocacy

The review of independent criminal advocacy in England and Wales by Sir Bill Jeffrey was published in May. It concluded that there can and should be no "turning back the clock" to provide the Bar with exclusive rights of audience. Rather, the Criminal Bar should look to take available opportunities to adapt its operating model to compete with solicitor advocates. Sir Bill considered that there was a strong case for a quality assurance scheme, and he "does not see that QASA would not work" if the changes recommended by the High Court were made.

Recent Decisions / Reports / Publications

22 May 2014

New LSB research into how people resolve legal problems

22 May 2014

New LSB research: How do we help legal services consumers make better decisions?

30 April 2014

LSB decision on appointments and reappointments to regulatory boards

9 April 2014

LSB and Legal Services Consumer Panel letter to legal regulators following agreement to make data openly and freely available

8 April 2014

Legal Services Board Business Plan 2014/15

8 April 2014

Results of the review of current levy rules that apply to the LSB and Legal Ombudsman>

6 March 2014

LSB assessment of the current regulatory framework for the administration of sanctions and appeals for those regulated by approved regulators

4 March 2014

Legal education and training statutory guidance

20 February 2014

Lay chairs for the largest legal regulatory bodies

13 February 2014

New members of the Office for Legal Complaints

Want to get in touch?

Legal Services Board
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Tel: 020 7271 0050
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You can also get in touch with the Consumer Panel, which advises the LSB on consumer issues, here.