Memorandum submitted by the Legal Services
1. This is a briefing note for the Committee
prepared by the Legal Services Board as background for the hearing
on 25 February.
2. The LSB is a single oversight regulator
for the legal profession, set up following the Legal Services
Act 2007. Our work is guided by the eight regulatory objectives
as defined in the Act (Annex 1). We oversee the eight Approved
Regulators (see Annex 2) and also appoint and approve the budget
of the Office for Legal Complaints, which will also manage the
new Ombudsman Scheme for the Legal Services market.
3. The LSB will be a small organisationperhaps
no more than 35 high quality fulltime staffworking with
a non-executive Chairman and Board. The approach will be project-based
analysis of specific policy areas.
4. We have to promote the public interest
and uphold the rule of law, to improve access to justice and open
the legal services' market, help citizens understand their legal
rights and responsibilities, and foster an independent, diverse
and effective legal profession.
5. One of the LSB's key roles is to complement
the profession in its own efforts to address the regulatory objectives.
It will do this by:
providing constructive critical challenge;
identifying relevant learning from
both legislation and wider regulatory practice in other sectors
and in other jurisdictions, and ensuring its dissemination;
acting as a fulcrum on matters of
legal services research, education and training to assist the
development of standards; and
ensuring that best practice from
each of the Approved Regulators is identified, celebrated and
6. Both the LSB and the approved regulators
need to ensure that regulatory interventions are swift enough
and appropriately targeted to reflect the changes of a fast, ever-changing
and ever-developing market place, both globally and in the high
street. The LSB needs to be adequately funded to have in place
the staff with the appropriate skills and experience to deal with
the complex issues of legal services regulation and to develop
the momentum to address our wide ranging agenda holistically.
But we are, of course, conscious of the financial pressures on
the legal services sector and will ensure that our plans are proportionate.
7. Funding will be provided by a levy on
the sector. Our current estimates are that in the first full year
of operation2010-11our costs will be in line with
what the Ministry of Justice estimated while the Act was going
through Parliament. We are consulting now on the split of the
set up costs (also to be clawed back via the levy).
8. The practical implementation of the LSB
in effect began in May 2008. The key milestones we have reached
so far are:
Services Act received Royal Assent.
May 2008David Edmonds
appointed as Chairman of the Board and a small transition team
Connor, Steve Green, Mike Napier, Rosemary Martin, Bill Moyes
Barbara Saunders, Nicole Smith, Andrew Whittaker and David Wolfe
were appointed as members of the Board.
of Elizabeth France as the Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints,
following Select Committee confirmatory hearing.
Kenny becomes CEO of the LSB.
End January 2009Draft
business plan published.
of the OLC BoardMargaret Doyle, David Thomas, Professor
Mary Semiveratne, Tony Foster, Rosemary Carter and Brian Woods-Scawen.
9. The major priority of the Board has been
the thinking which has developed into our draft business plan.
We have set out the way in which we want to see the legal services
market deliver for consumers over the next five years. Its components
Putting consumer and public interest
at the heart of regulation.
Widening access to the legal market.
Improving service by resolving complaints
Developing excellence in legal services
Securing independent regulation.
Promoting access to a diverse legal
Developing research and public legal
10. To do this we will:
subject to resources being available,
appoint our consumer panel and have it in place in the summer;
work with the approved regulators
to implement the framework for alternative business structures
as quickly as possible consistent with proper consumer protection;
produce robust proposals on how approved
regulators should ensure the split of the regulatory and representative
respond to the Panel on Fair Access
to the Professions as part of our duty to encourage a strong,
diverse, independent and effective profession;
help the OLC recruit its implementation
team and begin to work with it on key issues such as the production
of its scheme rules;
produce proposals for the levy on
approved regulators for our funding; and
appoint our key staff and build our
internal policies and procedures.
11. We look forward to working with the
Select Committee, both in its oversight of our own performance
and in contributing to its deliberations on wider issues in which
the Board has an interest.
Section 1 of the Legal Services Act sets out
a set of regulatory objectives for the LSB and the ARs, these
protect and promote the public interest;
support the constitutional principle
of the rule of law;
improve access to justice;
protect and promote the interest
promote competition in the provision
of legal services;
encourage an independent, strong,
diverse and effective legal profession;
increase public understanding of
the citizen's legal rights and duties; and
promote and maintain adherence to
the professional principles.
Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)
Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
Charter Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA)
Association of Law Cost Draftsmen (ALCD)
The Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland
is currently authorised to carry out a reserved legal activity
(probate) and will become an Approved Regulator