The Legal Services Board has hit back at continuing criticism of its role and work by insisting that it has a legal duty to take positive action – and that turning the clock back to a pre-Legal Services Act world is not an option.
Yesterday’s announcement that Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling had rejected the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) recommendation that will-writing become a reserved legal activity was not a total shock. I reported in February that the LSB was nervous given Mr Grayling’s anti-regulation agenda and it was encouraging supporters to lobby the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). If nothing else, those (mainly abroad) who fear that the LSB is too close to the government can rest easy – this is the second significant slap in the face for the LSB after the MoJ in 2011 disregarded its conclusion that the case to ban referral fees was not made out.
A proposed statutory duty on frontline regulators to consider economic growth must not be used to probe the business plans of new entrants to the market or block “risky business models”, the Legal Services Board has cautioned.
Requiring all 10,000 law firms to report non-material breaches to the Solicitors Regulation Authority is “unsustainable and cannot be justified”, the regulator’s board will be told today. Meanwhile, the number of firms and individuals facing action over COLP/COFA nomination failures has risen to 928.
The Legal Services Board has criticised the Bar Standards Board’s failure to apply the cab-rank rule to public access work and said this omission will reduce the impact of rule changes that widen the scope for barristers dealing directly with clients.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has “substantial work” to do before it can consider its performance satisfactory, including making its rules less prescriptive, the Legal Services Board said today.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) will today formally recommend to the Lord Chancellor that will-writing – but not estate administration – should be regulated legal work. The LSB had initially intended to include estate administration.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to keep alternative business structures within the coverage of the Law Society’s compensation fund indefinitely, although the move was described as “bizarre” by the Shadow Minister for Justice.
The Legal Education and Training Review may end up “unbalanced or worse” because it has incorrectly identified its purpose, the president of the Supreme Court warned last night. Lord Neuberger also questioned the need for root-and-branch change.
The chairman of the Legal Services Board has strongly criticised the Bar Council for its approach to dealing with the board, characterising its reaction to the Legal Services Act reforms as “walking backwards slowly”.