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Chair’s Report from Dame Janet Paraskeva
Regulatory Fees and Fee Rates
As ever the last meeting of the Council before the Summer break had some significant agenda items. This year, as every year, we reviewed regulatory fees and fee rates for the next licence year that will begin on 1 November.
The CLC has been working very hard in recent years to ensure that the regulatory burden – both financial and administrative – on regulated individuals and firms is proportionate. We have been especially careful to avoid fluctuations in costs that would make planning difficult for the regulated community. Despite the high levels of general inflation, we have decided to hold all regulatory fees and fee rates at their current levels for the next year.
This of course represents a real terms cut. We have been able to achieve that through careful management of resources, a managed reduction in reserves and removing the levy for the Office for Legal Complaints (Legal Ombudsman) from our main budget treating it separately which helps give the CLC more confidence in setting the budget we need for our own work.
We are currently consulting on our fee rate proposals: https://www.clc-uk.org/regulation/current-consultations/ and I hope you will take the time to put in a response.
Ethical Principles and Corporate Strategy
While the ethical principles for the lawyers regulated by the CLC and our own corporate objectives may not seem that closely related, they in fact are, as foundational elements to our work. We have been reviewing both since the beginning of the year, and Council approved the approaches to consultation at its July meeting. Because of the close links between the two, they feature in one consultation document which is available on our website.
Council received its annual report on education to CLC qualifications at this meeting, and we are keen that everything possible is done to ensure that the pipeline of specialist conveyancers and probate lawyers continues to grow. Much work is underway to that end, responding to the need from firms for more qualified staff.
Council also continued its work on the ongoing competence of regulated individuals. We have approved the terms of a consultation on proposals for an evolved approach to continuing professional development that recognises the realities of modern practice and the rapid pace of its evolution. That consultation will begin in the Autumn.
In addition to these large policy questions, the Council also undertook its regular scrutiny of the performance of the CLC. We questioned the executive team on a range of measures –and publish a number of these following each meeting. The Council also approved amendments to the Principal Risk Register that had been proposed by the Audit and Risk Committee.
The Council received detailed updates on the progress of the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) round that ended on 1 July. It was somewhat smoother this year following amendments to the CLC’s PII arrangements and work with brokers and insurers as well as regulated entities will continue as the insurance market continues to change.
The Council discussed the OLC annual report, noting some improvement in performance but regretting the continued increase in costs of the ombudsmen in light of the recent estimate of the CLC’s share of the levy to fund it. Our close work with the OLC as they continue to amend their ways of working, and with regulated firms to reduce referrals to the OLC will remain a significant part of our efforts in 2023.
The Chief Executive, Sheila Kumar, updated the Council on developments at CILEx and CILEx Regulation. Council approved the promotion of transfer to regulation by the CLC for CILEx lawyers specialising in conveyancing and probate. This is now set out on our website: https://www.clc-uk.org/converting-from-cilex-regulation-to-become-a-clc-lawyer/
The Council completed its annual review of its terms of reference. It also received reports from its Audit and Risk Committee and Appointments Committee.
The Council ratified formally the decision made between Council Meetings to appoint Council Member Sarah Debney to a vacancy on the Appointments Committee
and an appointment to the Adjudication Panel
All in all, it was another very busy and effective meeting. If you have any feedback on these reports, I would be very glad to receive it. You can email me at Chair@clc-uk.org