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Legal Services Bill [HL]


Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 6 — Legal Complaints

79

 

Defamation

151     

Protection from defamation claims

For the purposes of the law of defamation—

(a)   

proceedings in relation to a complaint under the ombudsman scheme

are to be treated as if they were proceedings before a court, and

5

(b)   

the publication of any matter by the OLC under this Part is absolutely

privileged.

Scheme rules

152     

Consent requirements for rules

(1)   

Before making scheme rules under any provision of this Part, the OLC must

10

obtain—

(a)   

the consent of the Board, and

(b)   

in the case of rules under section 133 (charges payable by respondents),

the consent of the Secretary of State.

(2)   

In subsection (1) the reference to making rules includes a reference to

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modifying rules.

153     

The Board’s powers in respect of rules

(1)   

The Board may direct the OLC to take such steps as are necessary—

(a)   

to modify its scheme rules in accordance with such general

requirements as are specified in the direction, or

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(b)   

to make a specified modification to its scheme rules.

(2)   

Before giving a direction under subsection (1)(b), the Board must—

(a)   

give the OLC a notice giving details of the proposed modification and

containing a statement that representations about the proposal may be

made to the Board within a period specified in the notice,

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(b)   

publish a copy of that notice, and

(c)   

have regard to any representations duly made.

(3)   

The following provisions do not apply in relation to any modification made by

the OLC to its rules in compliance with a direction under subsection (1)(b)—

(a)   

section 152(1)(a) (requirement to obtain the Board’s consent to rules);

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(b)   

section 195 (requirement to consult before making rules).

(4)   

Where the Board revokes a direction, it must—

(a)   

give the OLC notice of the revocation, and

(b)   

publish that notice.

Effect on existing arrangements for redress etc

35

154     

Approved regulators not to make provision for redress

(1)   

The regulatory arrangements of an approved regulator must not include any

provision relating to redress.

 
 

Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 6 — Legal Complaints

80

 

(2)   

If at the time this subsection comes into force the regulatory arrangements of

an approved regulator contravene subsection (1), any provision relating to

redress included in those regulatory arrangements ceases to have effect at that

time, subject to subsection (3).

(3)   

An order under section 201 which appoints a day for the coming into force of

5

subsection (2) may include transitional provision in respect of any proceedings

which, immediately before that day are awaiting determination under any

provision relating to redress made by an approved regulator.

   

This subsection is without prejudice to any other transitional provision which

may be made by or under this Act.

10

(4)   

For the purposes of this section “provision relating to redress” means any

provision (whether it is statutory or non-statutory) for redress in respect of acts

or omissions of authorised persons and any provision connected with such

provision.

(5)   

Nothing in this section prevents an approved regulator making—

15

(a)   

provision in its regulatory arrangements of the kind required by section

109 (requirement for authorised persons to have complaints

procedures), or

(b)   

indemnification arrangements or compensation arrangements.

(6)   

In subsection (4) “authorised person” means an authorised person in relation

20

to any activity which is a reserved legal activity.

(7)   

This section applies to licensing rules made by the Board in its capacity as a

licensing authority as it applies in relation to the regulatory arrangements of an

approved regulator.

155     

Legal Services Complaints Commissioner and Legal Services Ombudsman

25

(1)   

The offices of Legal Services Complaints Commissioner and Legal Services

Ombudsman are abolished.

(2)   

Accordingly—

(a)   

sections 51 and 52 of, and Schedule 8 to, the Access to Justice Act 1999

(c. 22), and

30

(b)   

sections 21 to 26 of, and Schedule 3 to, the Courts and Legal Services

Act 1990 (c. 41),

   

are repealed.

Interpretation

156     

Interpretation of Part 6

35

In this Part—

“complainant”, in relation to a complaint, means the person who makes

the complaint;

“relevant authorising body”, in relation to a person, means—

(a)   

an approved regulator by which the person is authorised to

40

carry on an activity which is a reserved legal activity, or

(b)   

where the person is authorised to carry on such an activity by

the Board in its capacity as a licensing authority, the Board;

 
 

Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 6 — Legal Complaints

81

 

“respondent”, in relation to a complaint, is to be construed in accordance

with section 122 (except that, where scheme rules of the kind

mentioned in section 130(3)(c) have effect, references to the

“respondent” include a person treated as a co-respondent under those

rules).

5

Claims management services

157     

Extension of Part 6 to claims management services

(1)   

For the purposes of this Part (and sections 1, 20 and 26 as they apply in relation

to this Part)—

(a)   

the Claims Management Services Regulator is to be treated as an

10

approved regulator;

(b)   

regulated claims management services are to be treated as a reserved

legal activity;

(c)   

a person authorised by the Claims Management Services Regulator,

under Part 2 of the Compensation Act 2006 (c. 29), to provide regulated

15

claims management services is to be treated as an authorised person in

relation to that activity;

(d)   

the Claims Management Services Regulator is to be treated as a relevant

authorising body in relation to such a person; and

(e)   

regulations under section 9 of, and the Schedule to, the Compensation

20

Act 2006 (regulations about the functions of the Claims Management

Services Regulator etc) are to be treated as regulatory arrangements of

the Claims Management Services Regulator.

(2)   

For the purposes of sections 109 and 142 (as extended by this section) a person

authorised by the Claims Management Services Regulator under Part 2 of the

25

Compensation Act 2006 to provide regulated claims management services is to

be treated as a “relevant authorised person” in relation to the Regulator.

(3)   

Section 9 of, and the Schedule to, the Compensation Act 2006 (regulations

about the functions of the Claims Management Regulator etc) are subject to any

requirements imposed by this Part in relation to the regulatory arrangements

30

of the Claims Management Regulator.

(4)   

In this section—

“Claims Management Services Regulator” means—

(a)   

the person designated under section 5(1) of the Compensation

Act 2006, or

35

(b)   

at a time when no person is so designated, the Board;

“regulated claims management services” has the same meaning as in Part

2 of the Compensation Act 2006.

 
 

Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 7 — Further provisions relating to the Board and the OLC

82

 

Part 7

Further provisions relating to the Board and the OLC

Guidance

158     

Guidance

(1)   

The Board may give guidance—

5

(a)   

about the operation of this Act and of any order made under it;

(b)   

about the operation of any rules made by the Board under this Act;

(c)   

about any matter relating to the Board’s functions;

(d)   

for the purpose of meeting the regulatory objectives;

(e)   

about the content of licensing rules;

10

(f)   

about any other matters about which it appears to the Board to be

desirable to give guidance.

(2)   

Guidance under this section may consist of such information and advice as the

Board considers appropriate.

(3)   

The Board may give financial or other assistance to persons giving information

15

or advice of a kind which the Board could give under this section.

(4)   

The Board may—

(a)   

publish its guidance,

(b)   

offer copies of its published guidance for sale at a reasonable price, and

(c)   

if it gives guidance in response to a request made by any person, make

20

a reasonable charge for that guidance.

(5)   

When exercising its functions, the Board may have regard to the extent to

which an approved regulator has complied with any guidance issued under

this section which is applicable to the approved regulator.

(6)   

When exercising its functions—

25

(a)   

in its capacity as an approved regulator by virtue of an order under

section 61(1)(a), or

(b)   

in its capacity as a licensing authority under Part 5,

   

the Board must have regard to any guidance it has issued under this section.

Voluntary arrangements

30

159     

Voluntary arrangements

(1)   

The Board may enter into arrangements with any person under which the

Board is to provide assistance for the purpose of improving standards of

service and promoting best practice in connection with the carrying on of any

legal activity.

35

(2)   

These arrangements may (among other things) provide for the Board to give

advice on—

(a)   

the best regulatory practice, or

(b)   

the contents of codes of practice or other voluntary arrangements.

 
 

Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 7 — Further provisions relating to the Board and the OLC

83

 

(3)   

Arrangements under this section may include provision as to the terms on

which assistance is to be provided by the Board (including provision as to

payment).

(4)   

Where the Board enters into arrangements under this section, it must publish

a statement giving details of the arrangements and explaining what they are

5

intended to achieve.

Disclosure and use of information

160     

Restricted information

(1)   

Except as provided by section 161, restricted information must not be

disclosed—

10

(a)   

by a restricted person, or

(b)   

by any person who receives the information directly or indirectly from

a restricted person.

(2)   

In this section and section 161

“restricted information” means information (other than excluded

15

information) which is obtained by the Board in the exercise of its

functions;

“restricted person” means—

(a)   

the Board (including the Board in its capacity as an approved

regulator or a licensing authority),

20

(b)   

a person who exercises functions delegated under paragraph 20

of Schedule 1 or section 72 or by virtue of section 63(2)(k).

(3)   

For the purposes of subsection (2) “excluded information” means—

(a)   

information which is in the form of a summary or collection of

information so framed as not to enable information relating to any

25

particular person to be ascertained from it;

(b)   

information which at the time of the disclosure is or has already been

made available to the public from other sources;

(c)   

information which was obtained more than 70 years before the date of

the disclosure.

30

161     

Disclosure of restricted information

(1)   

A restricted person may disclose restricted information to another restricted

person.

(2)   

Restricted information may be disclosed for the purposes of enabling or

assisting the Board to exercise its functions (whether as an approved regulator,

35

a licensing authority or otherwise).

(3)   

Section 160 also does not preclude the disclosure of restricted information—

(a)   

where the disclosure is a result of the Board exercising any power to

publish information under this Act;

(b)   

for the purposes of enabling or assisting the OLC, ombudsmen or

40

persons who exercise functions delegated under paragraph 19 of

Schedule 15, to exercise any of its or their functions,

(c)   

to an approved regulator for the purposes of enabling or assisting the

approved regulator to exercise any of its functions,

 
 

Legal Services Bill [HL]
Part 7 — Further provisions relating to the Board and the OLC

84

 

(d)   

with the consent of the person to whom it relates and (if different) the

person from whom the restricted person obtained it,

(e)   

for the purposes of an inquiry with a view to the taking of any criminal

proceedings or for the purposes of any such proceedings,

(f)   

where the disclosure is required by or by virtue of any provision made

5

by or under this Act or any other enactment or other rule of law, or

(g)   

to such persons as may be prescribed by order made by the Secretary of

State for such purposes as may be so prescribed.

(4)   

Subsections (2) and (3) are subject to subsection (5).

(5)   

The Secretary of State may by order prevent the disclosure of restricted

10

information by virtue of subsection (2) or (3) in such circumstances, or for such

purposes, as may be prescribed in the order.

162     

Disclosure of information to the Board

(1)   

Information which is held by or on behalf of a permitted person (whether

obtained before or after this section comes into force) may be disclosed to the

15

Board for the purposes of enabling or assisting the Board to exercise its

functions (whether as an approved regulator, a licensing authority or

otherwise).

(2)   

A disclosure under this section is not to be taken to breach any restriction on

the disclosure of information (however imposed).

20

(3)   

But nothing in this section authorises the making of a disclosure—

(a)   

which contravenes the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29), or

(b)   

which is prohibited by Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers

Act 2000 (c. 23).

(4)   

This section does not affect a power to disclose which exists apart from this

25

section.

(5)   

The following are permitted persons—

(a)   

a chief officer of police of a police force in England and Wales;

(b)   

a chief constable of a police force in Scotland;

(c)   

the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland;

30

(d)   

the Director General of the Serious Organised Crime Agency;

(e)   

the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs;

(f)   

the Financial Services Authority.

(6)   

The Secretary of State may by order designate as permitted persons other

persons who exercise functions which the Secretary of State considers are of a

35

public nature (including a person discharging regulatory functions in relation

to any description of activities).

(7)   

Information must not be disclosed under this section on behalf of the

Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs unless the

Commissioners authorise the disclosure.

40

(8)   

The power to authorise a disclosure under subsection (7) may be delegated

(either generally or for a specific purpose) to an officer of Revenue and

Customs.

 
 

 
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Revised 24 November 2006