Edmonds: benchmarks for rigour of review

Legal Services Board (LSB) chairman David Edmonds will tomorrow back a review of legal education and training but warn that he expects it to be far-reaching, Legal Futures has learned.

However, we understand that the LSB had originally planned to conduct the review itself, but has been persuaded to let the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards take the lead under the LSB’s oversight.

There are concerns among the various legal regulators that at times the LSB is at risk of going beyond its oversight role, and this struggle could be the latest manifestation of that.

Delivering the annual Upjohn lecture in London, Mr Edmonds will set out a series of benchmarks against which the LSB will judge the robustness of the independent, strategic review. It will be the first time he has seriously addressed the issue of education and training, following a recent speech by LSB chief executive Chris Kenny. The board’s interest in the issue comes primarily under the regulatory objective in the Legal Services Act of “encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession”.

The review will be informed by a group convened by the regulators and will be undertaken in parallel with additional research to be undertaken by the individual regulators.

SRA chief executive Antony Townsend will tell the SRA board tomorrow that the authroity will be continuing its review of training contract policy through the work-based learning pilot and will be embarking on a fundamental review of continuing professional development over the next 12 months.

“Both of these projects will feed into, and be informed by, the wider review,” he writes in his report to the board.

Legal Futures will report on the speech tomorrow evening after it has been delivered.

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