A former senior civil servant with substantial experience of competition law has been named the new chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
Sarah Chambers replaces Dr Jane Martin, who resigned after just a year in post to become a member of the Office for Legal Complaints, the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman.
Her appointment is for a three year term and pays £15,000 for at least 30 days work per year.
Ms Chambers was chief executive of post regulator PostComm from 2004-2008, before becoming director of consumer & competition policy at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills until 2011, and then director of renewable energy deployment at the Department of Energy and Climate Change until 2013.
Until recently, she was a non-executive director of the Competition & Markets Authority, which in late 2016 issued a report on the legal services market.
She holds a number of other public appointments, consultancy and trustee roles – including Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, Judicial Appointments Commission panellist, Civil Aviation Authority consumer panel member and chair of the applications panel of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code.
From 2012 to 2017, Ms Chambers was a member of the Bar Standards Board’s qualifications committee.
Dr Helen Phillips, interim chair of the Legal Services Board, which made the appointment, said: “This appointment demonstrates the importance the LSB continues to attach to the advice it receives from the consumer panel and the invaluable challenge function it plays in respect of the wider legal services sector.”
The panel recently said that the legal market has proven “inept” at responding to the needs of vulnerable consumers and its regulators were not coming up with a strategy to tackle the problem.
Issuing its three-year strategy, the panel said its primary strategic aim was to improve transparency in the market through “information remedies”.