Lawyers denied further chance to complain, as LSB avoids government review

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23 December 2015


Ministry of Justice

MoJ: “an announcement will be made”

Lawyers will have to wait patiently for another chance to complain to the government about the Legal Services Board (LSB) as it emerged that the board’s second ‘triennial review’, due this year, had been scrapped.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice told Legal Futures that the review had been replaced by the government’s “revised strategy” on arms-length bodies (ALBs).

“We are not going into any further detail at this stage, but an announcement will be made,” he said.

Following the first triennial review, in 2012, justice minister Jonathan Djanogly praised the LSB and the Office for Legal Complaints, which manages the Legal Ombudsman, for their “excellent standards of corporate governance”.

This followed a call from the Bar Standards Board for the LSB to be phased out over the next three years. The Bar Council stopped short of calling for abolition, but said the LSB should be “reined in” and discouraged from abusing its powers.

Earlier this month Matthew Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a written statement to parliament that there would be a “two-tier approach” to reform of ALBs.

“Instead of just piecemeal reviews, of individual ALBs, we will look at how groups of quangos can be merged, share back offices or work better together.

“So the first tier is a set of cross-departmental, functional reviews, covering several ALBs in similar or related areas of government. The will initially cover bodies with regulatory functions.”

Mr Hancock said the review, led by Amanda Spielman, chair of Ofqual, would be “delivered through partnership with arms’ length bodies, the Cabinet Office and other departments”.

The MP said the second tier would be a programme of “tailored reviews” for ALBs not falling into the first tier. He said each ALB would continue to be reviewed during the lifetime of every parliament.

A spokesman for the LSB said the organisation had been in touch with the team working with Ms Spielman.

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