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.
The Law Society’s share of the Practising Certificate fee should be repaid to solicitors if the Solicitors Regulation Authority becomes fully independent, the regulator’s chief executive has said. Paul Philip said the society’s share was around £35m or £250 for each solicitor.
A “potentially high-profile and contentious” dispute between the Legal Services Board (LSB) and the Law Society is looming over how the latter spends money derived from practising fees. The LSB is to review its 2009 Practising Fee Rules after a hole was found in the Legal Services Act 2007.
The vast majority of solicitors who responded to a Law Society survey on the practising certificate fee said they thought it did not represent value for money. Many said the Law Society should get a bigger share and the Solicitors Regulation Authority a smaller one.
The Legal Services Board is to hire an external accountant to examine how the Law Society and other regulators spend money raised through compulsory practising certificate fees.
Solicitors believe the practising certificate (PC) fee is still too high, despite a cut of 17% approved by the Law Society council earlier this month, research has revealed.