Newly commissioned research by the Legal Service Board of England and Wales (LSB) as part of their wider work on ongoing competence, has demonstrated that the public places high importance on lawyers having up to date knowledge and skills, and the right attributes to provide high-quality services. The report also showed that there was a gap between public expectation and the current regulatory requirements around ongoing competence.
The survey was made up of 1,005 respondents in England and Wales and found that:
- 55% of respondents assumed that lawyers face regular skills checks, in a similar manner to doctors, pilots or teachers
- 95% thought that lawyers should have to demonstrate that they remain competent throughout their careers
- 87% thought that regulators should do more to reduce the risk of lack of competence
- 88% thought there should be more consistency in competence requirements across the profession, as there are for other regulated professions
Dr Helen Phillips, Chair of the Legal Services Board, said:
“This research shows that there is a gap between what the public expect when it comes to lawyers’ competence and what checks are currently in place. We will be developing our thinking on what more needs to be done in this area to build public confidence, and engaging widely on our emerging thoughts.”