MoJ slaps away Bar Council call to scrap Legal Services Board

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13 November 2012


Red tape: ministers committed to ensuring regulation is proportionate

The Ministry of Justice has thrown cold water on the Bar Council’s call to abolish the Legal Services Board (LSB).

On Saturday, Bar Council chairman Michael Todd QC said he had twice spoken to the new Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, about his concerns that the legal profession is over-regulated, and claimed that he was “sympathetic” to the argument and could be open to the suggestion that the LSB be scrapped.

However, in a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Justice did not appear to echo this optimism.

It said: “The Legal Service Board was reviewed in July. No respondents called for the board’s abolition and the review concluded that it should continue with its role. However, ministers are committed to ensuring regulation is proportionate and effective, and will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that this balance is struck.”

In its submission to the ministry’s triennial review of the LSB earlier this year, the Bar Council stopped short of joining the Bar Standards Board in calling for its abolition in around three years’ time.

The Bar Council said the LSB has “no remaining role to play” in relation to some of the functions imposed on it by the Legal Services Act, although said it has continuing functions to discharge in its role as an oversight regulator. “Principally this may include the licensing and supervision of alternative business structures.”

The response added: “Given its demonstrable propensity to exceed its limited remit, to the detriment and cost of the [frontline regulators] that will ultimately be passed onto consumers of legal services themselves, the LSB should be actively discouraged by the government from abusing the oversight regulatory powers envisaged by Parliament.”

 

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Legal Futures Blog

How best to achieve independent regulation under the Legal Services Act?

Craig Wakeford LSB

Independent regulation gives confidence to consumers, providers, investors and society as a whole that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. The Legal Services Act 2007 does not require all approved regulators to be structurally separate from representative bodies. Instead, the Legal Services Board is required by the Act to produce internal governance rules (IGR) which apply the principle of regulatory independence in legal service regulation. We are currently running a consultation on the IGR which continues until 9 February.

January 19th, 2018