Grayling: legal market needs to be more diverse and innovative


Grayling: still much to be done

The new chairman of the Legal Services Board (LSB) needs to help develop “a more diverse and innovative legal services market that attracts new providers”, justice secretary Chris Grayling has said.

The search for a new chairman of the LSB began last week, the first of a series of appointments over the next year which could reshape the face of legal regulation.

David Edmonds’ six-year spell at the helm of the LSB finishes on 30 April 2014, and his successor will again be paid £63,000 for a minimum of 70 days per year.

The job description for the LSB chairman’s role – which by law has to be filled by a non-lawyer – said the candidate must be “passionate about creating an environment in which regulation is as light touch as possible in order to secure quality and propriety for consumers and who has the knowledge, experience and skills to drive market-based reforms in the legal services sector”.

In a message to prospective candidates, justice secretary Chris Grayling praised the progress made under Mr Edmonds’ leadership but says “there is still much to be done”.

He explained: “We have a legal services sector which has an excellent reputation both at home and abroad but it cannot afford to stand still if it is to contribute to economic growth across the board, rather than simply its own prosperity.

“We need a more diverse and innovative legal services market that attracts new providers, offers new opportunities for the current and future legal profession and that meets the needs of current and future consumers.

“Underpinning that we need a modern regulatory framework which encourages entry and innovation, is cost effective, proportionate and flexible in its operations and in which consumers, the public and industry have confidence.”

The selection panel will be chaired by Mark Addison, a public appointments assessor nominated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, with Ministry of Justice director Jonathan Sedgwick, an as-yet unnamed independent member and a senior judge.

The LSB is also recruiting for a new lay and non-lay member, with the terms of consumer consultant Barbara Saunders and solicitor Andrew Whittaker – group general counsel at Lloyds Banking Group – expiring at end of the March.

As well as these appointments, next year will see a new chair of the board of the Office of Legal Complaints, which oversees the Legal Ombudsman, while the terms of both Charles Plant and Baroness Deech, respectively chairs of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board, are up at the end of 2014.

The details of the LSB posts can be found here.

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