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Reform of the regulatory framework for legal services

12 September, 2016

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers reacted to the publication today by the Legal Services Board of A vision for legislative reform of the regulatory framework for legal services in England and Wales.

Chair of the CLC, the Rt Hon Dame Janet Paraskeva said:

‘The CLC is very encouraged that the Legal Services Board (LSB) has recognised the strengths of activity-based regulation. We have long argued that this model should be retained and extended under any new arrangements for the regulation of legal services. A risk-based approach in place of the current, haphazard system of ‘reservation’ of certain legal services also has our support as we believe it will deliver benefits to consumers and legal service providers alike. Likewise, a sharper focus on regulation in the regulatory objectives will provide clearer goals and so reduce the overall regulatory burden.

‘It is our view that the Legal Services Board already has powers to deliver independence of regulation from representation and I urge the Board to use those powers now in line with its views as set out in its paper. Securing the independence of regulation is a vital first step in the further reform of legal services and in fact should be seen as unfinished business from implementation of the Legal Services Act.

‘The LSB has published a very useful paper providing leadership on reform of regulation of legal services. As a wholly independent regulator with a thirty-year record of protecting consumers, supporting innovation and fostering competition through tailored, specialist activity-based regulation, we look forward to taking part in the debate and providing the CLC’s unique insight into the Board’s preferred future model.

‘Commentary on the LSB’s proposal is likely to focus on the question of whether there should be one regulator or many but this should not distract us from the more important questions raised in this paper. We agree with the Legal Services Board that whether there should only be one regulator can only flow from answers to the prior questions about how we ensure independence and move to a risk-based approach and regulation by activity.’

In summary, the LSB’s paper makes the following proposals.