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CLC submission to thereview of regulation

3 September, 2013

CLC sets out plans for immediate and pragmatic improvements to regulation

* on supporting consumer-led innovation in the legal sector
* Says another round of fundamental change now would blight the sector

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has today submitted its response to the review of regulation of legal services being run by the Ministry of Justice.

The pithy submission focuses on changes that can be made comparatively easily to reduce the burden on the legal sector and to support innovation and the development of new services to consumers. The CLC identifies two quick wins and six medium term goals:

Quick wins

End double regulation of legal services – ensure that regulation by the legal services regulators and those in the financial and other sectors do not overlap in ways that inhibit the free functioning of healthy, competitive markets

Rationalise PII requirements for innovative firms – changes to PII practice that currently inhibit the free functioning of the market and the development of new business models

Medium term goals

Foster flexibility to change and help drive innovation and growth – levelling the playing field for front line regulators

Entrench collaboration on legal education – building on the recommendations of the Legal Education and Training Review

Establish centralised compensation arrangements – to enhance consumer protection pending a review of the workings of insurance and compensation schemes

Rationalise regulatory objectives – the current framework contains too many, conflicting objectives

Set out principles for the reservation of legal activities – a thorough review of what actually needs to be regulated in light of risk of actual detriment

Complete the separation of regulatory and representative functions – to ensure objective regulatory decision-making

Anna Bradley, Chair of the CLC said: “The innovation and change that the Legal Services Act 2007 enables is only slowly being taken up by the market. Our submission to the MoJ sets out pragmatic steps that can be taken easily and quickly to improve the operation of the regulatory framework . The essential, but protracted, panoply of research, consultation and legislation that would be required to move to a fundamentally different framework for the regulation of legal services now would blight the market for years. This is not the time to be talking of a single regulator across all legal services: there is a much stronger case for letting the range of regulators continue their work, with diverse approaches fostering innovation in the market place. If there is a move in future to a single regulator we would expect that the strengths that exist in the current range of approaches would be in some way retained.”

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