New LSB chief: primary legislation needed to reduce regulatory complexity

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30 May 2014

Sir Michael Pitt

Sir Michael Pitt: regulation must move at “market pace”

Sir Michael Pitt, the new chairman of the Legal Services Board, has said that primary legislation will be needed to reduce the complexity of legal regulation and ensure it moves “at market pace”.

His first public statement since taking office a month ago lays down a marker to the government, which earlier this month ruled out major changes to the legislative structure of regulation for the time being.

Justice minister Shailesh Vara instead put on the onus on frontline regulators to reduce burdens on practitioners.

In the latest edition of the LSB’s quarterly newsletter, Sir Michael welcomed the government’s emphasis on “growth, simplification and deregulation”, themes which he described as central to the LSB’s work programme this year.

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He said he was “heartened” in his early contacts with legal regulators to see them “embracing the necessary changes”.

Sir Michael added: “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.”

It is as yet unknown whether Sir Michael supports the LSB’s position that, in time, there should be a single regulator for the legal profession. David Edmonds, his predecessor, made no secret of his wish to see a single regulator, and Chris Kenny, chief executive of the LSB, predicted earlier this month that the move would happen in 10 years’ time.

Journalists will get their first chance to quiz Sir Michael about his initial thoughts on the legal landscape in around a month.

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