Legal Services Bill [Lords] - continued          House of Commons

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Intervention directions

Simon Hughes
John Hemming

NC7

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Board may give the OLC an intervention direction in relation to any of its functions if the Board is satisfied—

        (a) that despite notice it has failed to handle complaints about authorised persons effectively and efficiently, and

        (b) that, in the circumstance of the case, it is appropriate to give the intervention direction.

      (2) An intervention direction, in relation to the function of the OLC, is a direction that—

        (a) the function is to be exercised by the Board or a person nominated by it, and

        (b) the OLC must comply with any instrument of the Board or its nominees in relation to the exercise of the function.

      (3) The Board may not determine that it is appropriate to given an intervention direction unless it is satisfied that the matter cannot be adequately addressed by the Board exercising the powers available to it under section (Board’s functions in relation to complaints).

      (4) The Board must make rules as to persons it may nominate for the purpose of subsection (2)(a).’.

Members’ explanatory statement
Currently, the Legal Services Board has no powers to investigate the Office for Legal Complaints. There is no provision for the Board to intervene if it believes that the OLC is not handling complaints properly. The New Clause above transfers to the Board the current powers of the Legal services Complaints Commissioner.

Boards function in relation to complaints

Simon Hughes
John Hemming

NC8

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) If it appears to the Board that complaints about any authorised person are not being handled effectively and efficiently by the OLC, the Board may exercise in relation to the OLC such of the powers in subsection (2) as it considers necessary.

      (2) Those powers are—

        (a) to investigate the handling of complaints about authorised persons;

        (b) to make recommendations in relation to the handling of complaints about authorised persons; and

        (c) to require the OLC to submit to the Board a plan for the handling of complaints about authorised persons.

      (3) Where the Board requires the OLC to submit to it a plan for the handling of complaints about authorised persons but the OLC—

        (a) fails to submit to the Board a plan which it considers adequate for securing that such complaints are handled effectively and efficiently, or

        (b) submits to the Board such a plan but fails to handle complaints in accordance with it

      the Board may give directions to the OLC.’.

Members’ explanatory statement
See Members’ explanatory statement for NC7.

Directions

Simon Hughes
John Hemming

NC9

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) This section applies if the Board is satisfied—

        (a) that the OLC has failed to meet the requirement of section (Board’s functions in relation to complaints) (3)(a) or (b), or

        (b) that the OLC has failed to comply with any requirement imposed on it by or under this Act (including this section) or any other enactment.

      (2) If, in all the circumstances of the case, the Board is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so, it may direct the OLC to take in a case within subsection (1)(a) or (b) such steps as the Board considers will remedy the failure, mitigate its effect or prevent its recurrence.

      (3) A direction under subsection (2) may only require the OLC to take steps which it has the power to take.

      (4) For the purpose of this section, a direction to take steps includes a direction which requires the OLC to refrain from taking a particular course of action.

      (5) The power to give a direction under this section is subject to any provision made by or under any other enactment.

      (6) The Board may take steps as it regards as appropriate to monitor and investigate the extent to which a direction under this section is being, or has been, complied with.

      (7) Where the Board revokes a direction under this section, it must—

        (a) give the OLC notice of the revocation, and

        (b) publish that notice.’.

Members’ explanatory statement
See Members’ explanatory statement for NC7.

Boards general duty to consult

Simon Hughes
John Hemming

NC10

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘The Board must make and maintain effective arrangements for consulting representatives of practitioners and consumers on the extent to which its general policies and practices are consistent with its duty under section 3.’.

Members’ explanatory statement
This New Clause and NC11 aim is to ensure that the Legal Services Board consults appropriately about its approach to carrying out its responsibilities generally, rather than merely in respect of individual decisions, especially as to the scope of its proposed workplan.

Consultation

Simon Hughes
John Hemming

NC11

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘Arrangements under section (Board’s general duty to consult) must include consultation in advance of the Board setting its workplan for each year, so as to obtain the views of persons consulted on—

        (a) the degree to which the Board’s proposed activities are appropriately targeted on areas giving rise to the greatest regulatory concern, and

        (b) whether or not the proposed programme of works is proportionate, having regard to the need to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens.’.

Members’ explanatory statement
See Members explanatory statement for NC10.

Seperation of funds proportionality

Mr Henry Bellingham
Mr Jonathan Djanogly
Mr Tobias Ellwood

NC12

    # To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) In exercising its functions under sections 29 and 30, the Board shall pay particular regard to what is proportionate.

      (2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), nothing in sections 29 or 30 shall exclude—

        (a) the exercise of or involvement in regulatory and representative functions by the same persons or bodies within an approved regulator;

        (b) the exercise of regulatory and representative functions from common premises.’.


Appeal against public censure

Mr Henry Bellingham
Mr Jonathan Djanogly
Mr Tobias Ellwood

NC13

    # To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) An approved regulator in respect of whom the Board decides to publish a statement under section 35 may appeal to the court on one or more of the appeal grounds.

      (2) The appeal grounds are —

        (a) that the decision was not within the power of the Board under section 35;

        (b) that any of the requirements of section 36 have not been complied with in relation to the imposition of the penalty and the interests of the approved regulator have been substantially prejudiced by the non-compliance;

        (c) that in all circumstances, the publication of a statement under section 35 is, or the terms of the statement published or to be published are (or would be), manifestly unreasonable or inappropriate;

        (d) that the decision is unlawful on any ground that would give rise to a claim for judicial review.

        (e) that the decsion is unlawful on any ground that would give rise to a claim for judicial review.

      (3) An appeal under subsection (1) must be made within the period of 42 days beginning with the day on which the notice was given to the approved regulator.

      (4) Where an appeal is made before the expiry of the 7-day period the Board must not (unless the court otherwise orders) publish the statement until the appeal has been withdrawn or dismissed.

      (5) On an appeal under subsection (1), where the court considers it appropriate to do so in all the circumstances of the case and is satisfied of one or more of the appeal grounds, the court may—

        (a) quash the decision to publish a statement, or

        (b) vary the terms of the statement (and, where the statement has been published, direct the Board to publish to the same extent the statement as varied).

      (6) In this section “the court” means the High Court.’.


Registration of non-authorised managers

Mr Jonathan Djangoly
Mr Henry Bellingham
Mr Tobais Ellwood

NC14

    # To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) Any body “B” which carries on an activity under Section 13 of this Act, which is not a “licensable body” as defined in Section [71(1)] but which has at least one manager who is not an authorised person, must register any non-authorised manager with an approved regulator.

      (2) It is an offence for B to carry on an activity under Section 13 of this Act if B does not comply with the conditions of this section.

      (3) For the purposes of this section an approved regulator may refuse to register any non-authorised manager (M) of B if its is not satisfied that:

        (a) M does not provide services to clients, directly or indirectly, or

        (b) M will act in a manner consistent with the “professional principles” set out in Section 1(3).

      (4) No manager of B may be a person who has been disqualified from acting under Section 99.

      (5) B will cease to be entitled to carry on an activity under Section 13 of this Act if B knowingly carries on reserved activities whilst a person, disqualified under Section 99, continues to be a manager of B.’.

Members’ explanatory statement
This would enable practices to have 25% or less on a headcount of managers who are not lawyers and who are not providing services to clients (so called Legal Practice Plus), to be operational from enactment alongside other forms of LDP.

ORDER OF THE HOUSE [4TH JUNE 2007]

       That the following provisions shall apply to the Legal Services Bill [Lords]:

Committal

        1. The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

        2. Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 28th June 2007.

        3. The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

        4. Proceedings on consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

        5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

        6. Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

        7. Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of any message from the Lords) may be programmed.


 
 
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Prepared: 11 June 2007