The first signs of an online court will be visible in tribunals by September, online processes will be extended to a wide range of civil court proceedings by May 2020, and the reforms will be incremental, according to one of the judges in charge.
A typical law firm in the future will accommodate a new generation of disruptive technologies, such as virtual assistants, machine learning and automation, but legal services must not lose their human touch, a major Law Society report on technological innovation has urged.
US law firms will have less incentive to employ UK-qualified lawyers as a way to access European market and the UK solicitor title will become less desirable after a hard Brexit, the Law Society has warned. In any event, transitional arrangements to ensure continuity if negotiations are not concluded with two years after article 50 is triggered are essential,
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 has issued a damning critique of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposals for a streamlined code of conduct and – to a lesser extent – its planned overhaul of the accounts rules. The code of conduct proposals were misconceived, unnecessary, unclear, and would create a two-tier profession, it said.
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 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.
Litigants with limited funds should use direct access barristers to represent them in court rather than pay for McKenzie Friends, the Bar Council has argued. The Bar Council, along with the Law Society and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, supported the judiciary’s call for a ban on professional McKenzie Friends.
The Law Society has said it is making progress in its overhaul of governance, after its ruling council agreed that work should be done to “develop suggestions for change in more detail”. However, it is unclear exactly what council members have agreed.
The Legal Services Board has announced a change in its practising certificate fee rules, which will put the spotlight on spending by professional bodies such as the Law Society and Bar Council. Both professional bodies opposed the change.