The prospect of external investment in intellectual property firms is set to soar after the Intellectual Property Regulation Board won the support of the Legal Services Board to become the third alternative business structure licensing authority.
The Legal Services Board’s consumer body has come out strongly in favour of making it compulsory that the chairs of the frontline regulators are not drawn from the profession, saying it would help counter conservatism in liberalising the legal market.
Changes in the legal market since the Legal Services Act will accelerate, with competition from new providers and cuts in legal aid leading to a “tragic but inevitable” end for non-specialist high street firms, according to the politician who shepherded the Act through Parliament.
The chairman of the Legal Services Board has criticised the “continuing spats” between the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority. David Edmonds also praised the improvements made by the SRA to the process for licensing alternative business structures.
The Legal Services Board is to issue statute-backed guidelines to compel legal regulators to follow its vision of how reforms resulting from the Legal Education and Training Review should be implemented.
A single regulator for all legal services providers and a single code of conduct is the way forward for the market, the Legal Services Consumer Panel argued today. It essentially recommended tearing up the Legal Services Act 2007 and starting again.
The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has today begun a debate over whether its remit should be widened to capture complaints against the 130,000 unregulated providers who deliver legal services. It has also raised the prospect of becoming the complaints body for a wide range of professionals.
The Legal Services Board fears a successful legal challenge should it accept the compromise aimed at resolving the impasse over moving the handling of complaints about claims management companies to the Legal Ombudsman, Legal Futures has learned.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has hit back against Law Society objections to its application to become an alternative business structure regulator, claiming the public interest was “built into accountants’ DNA”.
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.