The Legal Services Board (LSB) launches a consultation on the proposed revised regulatory performance assessment process.
Legal Services Board Chief Executive Neil Buckley said:
“The LSB’s work to hold legal services regulators’ to account for their performance is key to delivering public confidence in legal services and is a core statutory function.
Through it, we drive improvement in the eight regulators’ performance and encourage them to become more effective and efficient.
We have engaged extensively with regulators and from this we have identified four elements of the framework where improvements can be made: standards, evidence gathering, assessment and grading.
We are inviting views from anyone with an interest in this issue. We are seeking responses on whether the elements, and the framework as a whole, are fit for purpose, and will achieve the intended aim of effective scrutiny and oversight of the regulators’ performance.”
 Bar Standards Board (BSB), CILEx Regulation, Costs Lawyers Standards Board (CLSB), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg), Master of the Faculties, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
- Information about the regulatory performance assessment consultation can be found here.
- Following a review of our previous process and a consultation with regulators the four areas we have identified as opportunities for improvement are:
- the regulatory performance standards could be more representative of the key areas of regulatory risk (for example, they could cover authorisation and education and training) and there was scope to remove duplication and ambiguity amongst the indicators outlined under each standard
- there is an opportunity to be more systematic and to utilise an ongoing approach to gathering information and evidence about the regulators’ performance
- The assessment process could be more proportionate, risk-based and targeted. It was also noted that greater clarity was needed as to whether the process assesses performance against minimum standards required for effective regulation or ‘gold-plated’ regulation, and the grading scale could more accurately reflect the regulators’ current performance rather than the progress the regulators’ have made and intend to make.
- The Legal Services Act 2007(the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB oversees nine approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are listed as approved regulators in relation only to reserved probate activities.
- As at 1 April 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £31 billion per annum (2016) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.