There are a lot of things that lawyers and the government do not agree about. One area where they do, generally speaking, is the need for deregulation. The ‘legal regulators’ (this now includes the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) were keen to show just how much they agree in the three reports sent by the Legal Services Board to justice minister Shailesh Vara this week.
Banks may charge law firms more for borrowing if they abandon their client accounts, the legal regulators have warned. A report submitted to justice minister Shailesh Vara highlighted both the dangers and benefits of allowing choice on whether to handle client money directly.
The Law Society has launched a sustained attack on plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to introduce third-party accounts, allow referral fees in legal aid cases and remove the requirement on firms to carry out reserved activities.
Plans to offer solicitors the option of a “third-party managed accounts” instead of the traditional client account have divided opinions, with some criticising a lack of detail and questioning whether the move would reduce fraud.