Setting Standards: The future of legal services education and training regulation in England and Wales

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Legal Education and Training Review

The review was jointly undertaken by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Institute of Legal Executives Professional Standards (IPS).  It was intended to be the most substantial review of legal education and training since the publication of the ‘Ormrod Report’ (Report of the Committee on Legal Education, Cmnd 4595) in 1971.

The review is evidence-based. An independent Research Team was appointed through a formal tendering process. They undertook an extensive programme of work (below) and made recommendations that were underpinned by sound research and confirmed through extensive stakeholder engagement.

Work on the Review commenced in June 2011 and the final Report was delivered to the Review Executive in June 2013.


Scope of the review

The scope of the Review was wide-ranging. The primary objective of the Review was to ensure that England and Wales has a legal education and training system that advances the regulatory objectives contained in the Legal Services Act 2007, and particularly the need to protect and promote the interests of consumers and to ensure an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession. It examined regulated and non-regulated legal services. The Review explored all stages of legal education and training, including the academic stage(s) of qualification, professional training and continuing professional development of the regulated professions. It identified both the scope for deregulation of existing training requirements and whether there was a case for bringing aspects of the non-regulated sector within a scheme of regulation.

The research was conducted in four key stages:

1. Literature review and analysis

Review and analysis of the literature and past research on the system of legal education and training in England and Wales and internationally. This was supplemented by a comparative study of other sectors and professions.

2. Contextual analysis

Review and analysis of the factors and issues that will influence and affect the shape and structure of legal services in the future.

This stage included an analysis of the impacts of contextual changes on individuals and entities and defined the range of legal and broader emerging professional roles, as well as the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to provide high quality and competitive services in the legal services market of the future.

3. Workforce development

The Research Team conducted research in to the legal services sector workforce identifying potential future structural change and its implications for future education and training needs.

4. Final recommendations

The Research Team prepared a final report on the main challenges and changes that will influence the shape of the future legal services sector and determine the legal services education and training system(s) necessary to underpin that structure. They set out evidenced priorities for action and recommendations to address these issues.

Support and governance

The overall conduct of the review was managed by the project’s Review Executive, comprising the Chief Executive Officers of the SRA, BSB and IPS.

A Consultation Steering Panel chaired by Dame Janet Gaymer and Sir Mark Potter provided advice and information to the research team and to the regulators, as required, on matters covered by the review. The Consultation Steering Panel also formed strategic relationships across the sector to promote the review outcomes to the widest possible audience.

The SRA provided research management support to the Review Executive and Consultation Steering Panel and was responsible for managing the research contract.

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