There has been a hitch in the Legal Services Board (LSB) approving the Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) bid to regulate entities, meaning that the LSB has had to issue a formal warning notice that it is considering whether to refuse the application.
However, there seems no prospect that it will actually refuse the application – the terms of the Legal Services Act has forced it to use this process.
The initial period the LSB had to approve the application ended on Monday, but it was unable to meet this deadline because of an outstanding issue around entities’ appeals against regulatory decisions.
The BSB requires amendments to a practice direction attached to the Civil Procedure Rules so that the High Court can hear such appeals, and these have yet to be approved by the rule committee. This meant the application does not currently meet the requirements of the Legal Services Act and so cannot be approved.
In an explanatory letter to BSB director Dr Vanessa Davies, LSB chief executive Chris Kenny said: “While the warning notice provides the LSB with 12 months to make a decision about the application, we anticipate making a final decision much sooner than this and will be working closely with your team to try and ensure that this is the case.
“We also consider that the warning notice should allow the BSB more time to progress and finalise other arrangements required for it to authorize and regulate entities from early 2015, for example the proposed fees for entities.”
A BSB spokesman said: “Our plans to begin regulating entities in early 2015 are not immediately affected by the issue of the LSB’s warning notice. The BSB’s proposals for hearing appeals against our regulatory decisions for entities are well in hand and we expect them to be resolved in good time. We remain interested in hearing from any barrister thinking of forming an entity.”