ICLR 2017 Panel: The appropriate role for a regulator


The appropriate role for a regulator: How to avoid mission creep and when to accept it?
Should, for example, a legal regulator be responsible for promoting access to justice and
public legal awareness?

Facilitator: Dr Vanessa Davies, Director General, Bar Standards Board (England and Wales)

Discussion points

1. Framing

To avoid mission creep, we need to start by clearly understanding our mission.

a) Which of these drives your mission in your jurisdiction?

  • Statutory objectives / role requirements e.g. Legal Services Act 2007 s1 (for E
    and W)
  • Professional body constitutional clauses?
  • Codes of Conduct?
  • Strategic plans?
  • Executive / political imperatives?
  • Other (more or less clear) factors?

b) The mission of a regulator is fundamentally about mitigating risks – but risks to what?

Here is an illustrative approach based on drivers for the mission of legal services regulators in one jurisdiction: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/about-bar-standards-board/how-we-doit/our-risk-based-approach/ 

c) Can risk based regulation help us determine when an extension to the mission should be sought / accepted / rejected?

2. Acting

a) How do you plan, resource and deliver a planned extension to mission?

b) What happens when an unplanned extension to mission arises?

c) Think of something which is not currently in your organisations’ scope but could become so e.g
Promoting access to justice

  • Increasing legal awareness and capability in the general public
  • Fostering economic competition amongst legal services providers
  • Handling consumer service complaints
  • Dealing with complaints against judges
  • Accrediting university law schools
  • Awarding excellence badges e.g. Queen’s Counsel
  • Regulating other professionals or employees who work with lawyers in service firms

How would your organisation respond to this proposed extension of scope?

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