The Legal Services Board has ditched its investigation into whether giving ‘general legal advice’ should become a reserved legal activity – but hinted it may look to remove probate from the existing list.
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.
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.
The status quo over reserved and unreserved legal activities is unsustainable and the answer may be for all legal advice to be regulated, the chief executive of the Legal Services Board has suggested.
The prospect of chartered legal executives setting up their own law firms moved closer to reality yesterday after their regulator submitted an application for the full range of independent practice rights. It has won immediate support from a Conservative MP.
The rule which prevents solicitors and alternative business structures from hiving off non-reserved legal work into unregulated businesses risks making legal services more expensive, distorting competition and preventing innovation, the Legal Services Board has warned.
Accountants could start offering reserved probate services to the public as soon as next autumn, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said yesterday as it submitted its application to become a regulator of probate services and alternative business structures.
The investigation of whether ‘general legal advice’ should become a reserved legal activity will begin next year, the Legal Services Board has revealed. It has also given a strong steer on what it hopes to see come out of the Legal Education and Training Review
The regulation of will-writing and estate administration needs to be drawn widely to ensure that the referral fee culture that has prevailed in personal injury does not emerge in private client work, the Law Society has warned.
A business offering corporate and commercial legal services has entered into regulation by becoming the newest alternative business structure (ABS) licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.