Legal Services Board
The Lord Chief Justice has outlined his “strong opposition” to a bid to allow accountants to handle tax litigation and advocacy work – and in return come under fire from the body that would regulate them. Lord Thomas described the application by the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales as “entirely premature”.
The Legal Services Board has stepped up the pressure on the Law Society’s role as the approved regulator of solicitors by announcing a formal investigation into whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has sufficient independence.
The Legal Services Board will next year carry out the first formal assessment of how the profession’s regulators have performed in improving diversity in their parts of the law, it has announced. Publishing its revised diversity guidance, the board said, however, that it expects to see the guidance influencing activities this year.
The Law Society’s governance troubles – with the resignation of chief executive Catherine Dixon earlier this month – are proof that it is “unsuitable” for any role in the regulation of the profession, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has told the Legal Services Board.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has warned that it will “reconsider whether it wishes to remain as a legal services regulator” if the government insists that regulators are fully independent from their professional bodies. The long-awaited consultation on this is said to be imminent.
The Legal Services Board is to reduce its cost to the profession to the lowest level since the oversight regulator was established in 2009. Its draft business plan for 2017/18, published yesterday for consultation, anticipated a £150,000 reduction on the current year’s budget to £3.85m.
There are “clear benefits” in the Legal Services Consumer Panel remaining part of the Legal Services Board, the panel’s chair has argued. Elisabeth Davies said the status quo allowed the LSB and the approved regulators to “access consumer insight on tap”.
The Legal Services Board may look for ways in which it can increase the independence of the frontline regulators from representative bodies if the proposed government consultation on full independence does not materialise, it emerged last night.
The Legal Services Board has called on the Competition and Markets Authority to extend a study of comparison websites to include customer review sites, given their particular sensitivity in the legal market.
The Ministry of Justice has no intention of dropping its plans to separate the legal regulators from their representative bodies, it said yesterday as it unveiled reviews of how the Legal Services Board and Legal Ombudsman are operating.