The Legal Services Board has said it expects frontline regulators to introduce compulsory “minimum disclosures” by law firms on price and service. The LSB was responding to the Competition and Market Authority market study of legal services.
New anti-money laundering regulations planned by the Treasury would impose “disproportionate and unnecessary” burdens on law firms, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned. It was particularly unhappy about a ‘criminality test’ for lawyers.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck off 35% more solicitors in the last calendar year than the one before, its annual report has revealed. Meanwhile, the legal costs awarded to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for bringing the prosecutions rocketed from £1.7m to over £3m – an increase of 76%.
A solicitor who transferred nearly £1.3m to an offshore bank account in Belize has been suspended for a year for breaches of the money laundering regulations and accounts rules. A disciplinary tribunal said she have have unwittingly facilitated the movement of monies during the course of a suspected fraud.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned of “information overload” as legal regulators struggle to come to terms with the demands of the Competition and Markets Authority for transparency on prices and complaints.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has published a blueprint for simplifying its system for granting waivers to regulations in order to promote innovation, which it suggests will particularly benefit small firms. The new policy would guarantee no enforcement action would be taken if innovations create technical breaches of the rules.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has slapped down the Solicitors Regulation Authority for its conduct in a disciplinary case involving alleged money laundering, describing it as having “verged on the shambolic” and dismissing five out of the seven charges laid.
Mixed response to LSB’s plan for regulatory overhaul, with Falconer calling for focus on unmet legal need instead
Reactions from key legal services industry bodies to the Legal Services Board’s blueprint for radical form of legal regulation have ranged from enthusiastic welcome to anger at its timing, while the politician who introduced the Legal Services Act 2007 said tackling unmet legal need was more of a priority.
The uncertainty that has followed the vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union should not slow down reforms in the legal services market, Paul Philip, the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s chief executive, has warned.
The Law Society has issued a damning critique of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposals for a streamlined code of conduct and – to a lesser extent – its planned overhaul of the accounts rules. The code of conduct proposals were misconceived, unnecessary, unclear, and would create a two-tier profession, it said.