Bar Council attacks “overconfident” Legal Services Board for “super-regulator” ambitions


Todd: LSB is misunderstanding its role as an oversight regulator

The Bar Council has attacked the Legal Services Board’s “overconfidence” and criticised its apparent desire to become a “super-regulator” rather than an oversight body.

Its response to the LSB’s consultation on its 2012-13 business plan and 2012-15 strategic plan echoes that of the Law Society, which last week warned that the LSB is overstepping its role and micro-managing the frontline regulators.

The letter from Bar Council chairman Michael Todd QC said the LSB’s plans “disclose a level of ambition to be involved in areas of activity that we consider are either properly the province of the approved regulators themselves or that fall outside the LSB’s terms of reference altogether”.

Among the examples he cited was the LSB’s intention to help stimulate the market for legal services, for which he said the Legal Services Act 2007 did not provide a remit. “There is not, we suspect, any public appetite for recourse to the law save where necessary. In that sense, legal services is not a ‘market’ that should function like others, and use of language borrowed from other sectors is undesirable and out of line with the statutory objectives.”

Mr Todd argued that the LSB is “misunderstanding” its role as an oversight regulator – duplicating work done by the frontline regulators – and unrealistic in not stepping back from several functions now that the first phase of its work has been successfully completed.

He said that while the LSB’s planned 9% budget cut is a step in the right direction, it is “nothing like the 20% savings targets expected of Whitehall departments or the 25% cuts which the Crown Prosecution Service, for example, is expected to deliver. Against that background, the Bar Council would expect the LSB’s budget to have been cut by 20%”.

Mr Todd continued: “Because of what is has achieved to date, the tone of the LSB’s draft plan indicates a degree of overconfidence from the LSB…

“The Bar Council is concerned that observations such as references to ‘the patchwork of different regulators and different patterns of regulatory protection in different services’ allude to a desire for a super-regulator role rather than one which analyses and corrects the regulatory environment to ensure consistency of approach among all frontline regulators.”

He also expressed concern that the LSB appears to have made up its mind on some issues before seeing the evidence or recommendations from the frontline regulators, such as the Legal Education and Training Review.

 

Tags:




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reports

Our latest special report, produced in association with Temple Legal Protection, looks at the role of after-the-event (ATE) insurance in commercial litigation post-LASPO. We are at a time when insurers, solicitors, clients and litigation funders work ever more closely to create funding packages that work for all of them, with conditional fee and even damages-based agreements now part of many law firms’ armoury.

Blog

16 September 2019

The Amazon effect

I have to be honest and say it still amazes me how many lawyers we come into contact with, who are still behaving like dinosaurs when it comes to technology. It’s not about chronological age.

Read More

Loading animation