It’s not like the Legal Services Board (LSB) to spring a surprise, but its announcement last week that it was not going to recommend that estate administration become a reserved legal activity – while pushing ahead with will-writing – certainly was one. My initial reaction, along with many of those reported on Legal Futures last week, was one of bafflement. Surely of the three elements of the process – will writing, probate and estate administration – it is the latter where the highest risk of fraud occurs and thus where regulation is most needed. Instead the first two will be. I understand that it was a real knife-edge decision by the LSB, and on reflection I think I agree with it.
Regulators need to speed up their processes for approving alternative business structures, the Office of Fair Trading said today. It also called for further simplification of the complaints system, recommended actions to increase the number of available pupillages and gave cautious support for the move away from title-based regulation.
The Legal Services Board has begun work on moving towards regulating lawyers based on the work they do, rather than on their professional title, Legal Futures can reveal. However, it acknowledged that there will be huge historical and cultural barriers to overcome.
Lawyers’ legal education and training should be aimed at the specific activities they will be authorised to practise rather than at achieving a particular title, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has urged.