Legal Services Board
The time taken by the Legal Ombudsman to resolve cases increased over the summer, new figures have shown. The proportion of cases resolved within 90 days fell from 50% in June this year to 47% in July – against a target of 60%. This was caused by a “bulge” in cases being assessed.
The Legal Services Board has reacted angrily to a draft report from the International Bar Association which said the oversight regulator was subject to “a degree of government control”, because “the LSB is funded by the Ministry of Justice, and all its members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor”.
Mixed response to LSB’s plan for regulatory overhaul, with Falconer calling for focus on unmet legal need instead
Reactions from key legal services industry bodies to the Legal Services Board’s blueprint for radical form of legal regulation have ranged from enthusiastic welcome to anger at its timing, while the politician who introduced the Legal Services Act 2007 said tackling unmet legal need was more of a priority.
The Legal Services Board has today outlined its blueprint for radical reform of legal regulation, including regulation by activity rather than professional title, and a single regulator for the entire profession. The oversight regulator said its plan was intended to be a “durable solution rather than a further stepping stone to liberalisation”.
The Legal Services Board has warned the Bar’s regulator that it cannot keep changing the cut score for the test would-be barristers have to pass before being allowed to take the Bar professional training course. However, it approved changes to the rules that will allow the BSB to lift the cut score this year.
The Legal Services Board has fired a warning shot across the bows of the Law Society in the wake of the latter’s decision to spend £61m over four years on new IT systems for both its representative and regulatory arms.
The Competition and Market Authority was right to conclude that there needs to be more transparency of price and service quality in the legal market, the Legal Services Board said today. But this has to be combined with both short and long-term regulatory reform.
Research into the growing trend of law firms switching regulator has begun so as to assess any risks for consumers and whether there may be unintended consequences. The Legal Services Board is undertaking the work and will look, among other things, at the extent to which new regulators check and use a lawyer or firm’s previous regulatory history.
The Legal Services Board has argued more strongly than ever that professional bodies must be fully separated from regulators. In a letter to the justice select committee, Sir Michael Pitt, chairman of the LSB, argued that there was scope under existing arrangements for them to “resist reforms”.
The slow pace of change in the legal services market means “regulatory intervention” is needed to force firms to publish their average prices even though it is not a perfect solution, the voice of legal consumers has said. The Legal Services Consumer Panel said this could also counter negative perceptions of lawyers.