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Neuberger and Grieve join legal regulation review

Neuberger: Member of panel

The former president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve are on the advisory panel for an independent review of the regulatory framework for legal services.

Announced in July [1], the review [2] is being run by the Centre for Ethics & Laws at University College London, and is headed by Professor Stephen Mayson.

It has published its first three working papers, which Legal Futures will review over the coming days.

The 19-strong panel comprises many leading experts in legal regulation from around the world, such as Steve Mark, former Legal Services Commissioner for New South Wales in Australia, Professor Gillian Hadfield, professor of law and of strategic management at the University of Toronto, and Edward Donelan, former senior advisor on regulatory governance at the OECD.

A criteria for membership is that the person should not also be involved with any governing or regulatory body that is within the scope of the review, so the former chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, Elisabeth Davies, and former Bar Standards Board vice-chair Patricia Robertson QC are also on the panel.

Iain Miller, a partner at Kingsley Napley, and John Gould, senior partner of Russell-Cooke, arguably the two leading solicitors on legal regulation, are on it as well, along with Dame Janet Gaymer, former senior partner of Simmons & Simmons.

Professor Mayson said the review was intended to explore the longer-term and related issues raised by the Competition and Markets Authority market study in 2016, which concluded that the legal services sector was not working well for individual consumers and small businesses, and that the current regulatory framework was unsustainable in the long run.

It called for a review of that framework to make it more flexible as well as targeted at areas of highest risk where regulation is most needed.

In its response [3], the Ministry of Justice accepted that the current framework of legal regulation was “inconsistent”, but said it could not commit to a formal review.

The Legal Services Board has also set out a vision [4] for a radical reshaping of legal regulation, including regulation by activity rather than professional title, and a single regulator for the entire profession.

Professor Mayson said: “The time for the review is right… The provision of effective and properly regulated legal services is critical to maintaining the rule of law, and the effective and efficient administration of justice.

“It is also necessary for sustaining the UK’s position and reputation as a world-leading jurisdiction for the governing law of international transactions and for the resolution of disputes, though this already appears to be under some pressure as a result of Brexit.”