A former Court of Appeal judge and the one-time senior partner of City law firm Simmons & Simmons have been appointed joint chairs of a new consultation panel to advise on the fundamental education and training review – now known as “Review 2020”.
A high-powered group of academics – including Professor Richard Susskind – is also on board to undertake the research which will underpin the two-year review.
Sir Mark Potter, who is now an arbitrator practising out of Fountain Court Chambers, and Dame Janet Gaymer, a top employment lawyer who has held a range of public appointments, will be joined by representatives nominated by key stakeholder groups to form the panel.
Review 2020 is being conducted by the three main legal regulators – the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS). Legal Futures understands there has been some frustration at the slow pace of progress since the review was announced last November .
“It was most important that we attracted the right people to lead the consultation with stakeholders,” said SRA chairman Charles Plant. “Dame Janet and Sir Mark have vast experience both through the practice of law and in issues related to legal education and training.”
The consultation panel will provide the opportunity for key stakeholders to meet formally up to four times a year throughout the life of the review and provide advice and direction to the project.
BSB chairman Baroness Ruth Deech said: “We are confident that Dame Janet and Sir Mark will work tirelessly to ensure that the review has a solid overarching framework and will be based on sound research.”
IPS chief executive Ian Watson added: “Their blend of skills and knowledge assures that the conclusions and recommendations which emerge from the review are relevant and practical for the whole of the legal services sector as it develops over the next few years.”
UKCLE (UK Centre for Legal Education) has been contracted to conduct the independent research.
The team includes Julian Webb, professor of legal education at the University of Warwick and director of UKCLE; Avrom Sherr, Woolf Professor of Legal Education and director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London; Paul Maharg, professor of legal education at Northumbria Law School; and Dr Jane Ching, reader at Nottingham Law School.
The team will draw on the expertise of consultants Dr Chris Decker of the Regulatory Policy Institute, Oxford; Professor Rob Wilson of Warwick Institute for Employment Research; and Professor Richard Susskind, who is internationally known for his work on the legal services market.
The Legal Services Board is overseeing the review and its chairman, David Edmonds, said: “The review must deliver education and training requirements that are fit for the legal sector of the future and that look beyond initial qualification routes for lawyers (important though those are). We welcome this announcement and look forward to seeing the proposals from the review in the coming 12 months. We will provide any assistance we can to the review and its research team.”