The Chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee has presented eight key recommendations following their examination of the regulation of the legal professions in England and Wales

Sir Bob Neill KC, Chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee of the UK Parliament, has written to UK Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk KC, presenting eight key recommendations following the Committee’s examination of the regulation of the legal professions in England and Wales, highlighting the need for a review of the Legal Services Board in light of significant changes since the Legal Services Act 2007.

The Committee’s overall recommendations and conclusions based on the evidence received are as follows:

  • The Post Office Horizon Scandal will inevitably have damaged the public’s perception of the legal professions. It is imperative that the public can see that the regulatory framework is robust and responsive enough to identify and punish egregious breaches of regulatory standards.
  • The Legal Services Act 2007 does not appear to provide a stable long-term framework for the regulation of the legal professions. “The Committee is concerned by the amount of discord and disfunction between the approved regulators, the regulatory bodies and the LSB. We recognise that there is relatively little appetite in the sector for far-reaching regulatory change, however, it is undeniable that the case for re-examination of the legislative framework underpinning regulation is growing stronger and stronger”.
  • Considering the evidence as a whole, we conclude that it is now right to carry out a review of the Legal Services Board and we recommend this to the Government.
  • The Committee would like to formally request that the Government adds the role of the Chair of the Legal Services Board to those which are subject to pre-appointment scrutiny by the Justice Committee.
  • The Committee supports a review of the internal governance rules and would encourage the LSB to consider whether they should be further clarified and strengthened.
  • In regards to the merits of CILEX’s proposals, we are sceptical of the argument that re-delegation and the proposed change to the titles of CILEX lawyer, from Chartered Legal Executive to Chartered Lawyer, would represent a simplification that would help consumers.
  • We would encourage the Law Society and the SRA to take a proactive approach to the needs of in-house lawyers and to demonstrate that they understand the challenges they face at present.
  • We appreciate and support the BSB’s prioritisation of operational improvements. However, the BSB should consider whether greater institutional independence could also help to facilitate improvements in its effectiveness as a regulator.

Read the full recommendations here.

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