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 Law Society and Council for Licensed Conveyancers have clashed plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to make it easier for law firms to switch regulator. The society warned that clients could be left without proper cover.
The Council of Licensed Conveyancers has announced its intention to apply to the Legal Services Board to approve the introduction of a solicitor-style open market indemnity scheme. The move has triggered warnings that law firms may switch regulator from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to the CLC for the wrong reasons.
The Legal Services Board has strongly criticised the Solicitors Regulation Authority over failures in its enforcement work and IT systems – and also warned about the risk that the overhaul of the Handbook “may be too much” for firms and the regulator to cope with. However, the LSB said the legal regulators collectively had all made “substantial progress”.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is planning to introduce solicitor-style indemnity insurance arrangements, in a bid to make it easier for law firms to switch regulator. Embracing an open market scheme instead of a master policy would help “make a reality” of the “theoretical” freedom of law firms to change.
Legal apprenticeships funded by the government are on course to start next September, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers have confirmed.
Former Law Society chief executive Dame Janet Paraskeva has been named as the new chair of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Dame Janet, a non-lawyer, has been appointed for an initial four-year term.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has strongly attacked plans by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers to cut the size of grants from its compensation fund from £1m to £500,000 – a quarter of the amount clients of solicitors can claim.
The House of Lords has given the Council for Licensed Conveyancers the power to issue standalone licences for people to conduct reserved probate work without them having to become licensed conveyancers first.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has criticised “quasi-regulatory” conveyancing schemes launched by the Law Society which could be seen as “duplicating” the CLC’s work.