Solicitors and consumer representatives have come out on opposite sides of the Legal Ombudsman’s proposal to extend its remit to the estimated 130,000 unregulated legal services providers operating in England and Wales.
The Legal Services Board yesterday approved the Council for Licensed Conveyancers’ application to become the first licensing authority for alternative business structures, despite the opposition of the Lord Chief Justice.
The battle over whether the Legal Services Board, its consumer panel and the Legal Ombudsman can retain their own websites continues, with the sites not closing at the end of last month as the Ministry of Justice had originally instructed.
Frontline regulators are letting down consumers by failing to collect information on how lawyers are handling complaints, a review by the Legal Services Board has concluded. This would make it difficult for them “to identify systemic issues and adopt a targeted approach to regulation”.
Lawyers should undergo five-yearly competence testing, as well as face peer review of the advice they provide clients, the chairwoman of the Legal Services Consumer Panel has said.