The Legal Services Board of England and Wales launches consultation on a new framework for regulation in the legal services sector

The Legal Services Board has begun a consultative exercise on how best to create more efficient regulation of legal services. The new system places greater emphasis on leadership, delivering the regulatory objectives and running effective operations.

The proposed new framework comes after several years of the existing one, feedback from the regulators, and research into other systems. It places responsibility on regulators and their boards to provide assurance that they are well-led and effective in their approach to, and delivery of, regulation for the public.

The proposed framework is intended to:

  • Place sufficient emphasis on effective leadership, capability and capacity of regulators.
  • Encourage regulators to take ownership of the regulatory objectives and hold them to account for putting these at the centre of what they do; and
  • Be sufficiently flexible to account for developments in the legal services market and the policy environment.

Read the full article here.

The California Bar adopts new five year strategic plan

The Board of Trustees of the California State Bar Board of Trustees has agreed a new five year plan, setting the Bar’s strategic direction until 2027.

The plan includes four strategic goals:

  • Protect the Public by Strengthening the Attorney Discipline System: Administer an attorney discipline system that is efficient, accountable, and transparent.
  • Protect the Public by Enhancing Access to, and Inclusion in, the Legal System: Increase access to the legal system through public outreach and education, improve access to legal advice and services, and a legal profession that reflects the diversity of California.
  • Protect the Public by Regulating the Legal Profession: Promote the ethical and competent practice of law and prevent misconduct by providing education, resources, and support for the legal profession.
  • Protect the Public by Engaging Partners: Engage partners and stakeholders to enhance public protection and restore the State Bar’s credibility, reputation, and impact.

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Lawyer Regulation Stakeholder Networks and the Global Diffusion of Ideas

This Article examines the increasingly global nature of the networks to which lawyer regulation stakeholders belong. After identifying who lawyer regulation stakeholders are, the Article identifies five different kinds of opportunities these stakeholders have to interact with global counterparts or to be exposed to global perspectives. For each of the five identified opportunities, the Article provides several examples that illustrate the ways in which U.S. lawyer regulation stakeholders are connected to global networks. The Article explains the broad impact that these kinds of networks can have and concludes that global networks, and the perspectives they bring, should now be viewed as a regular part of U.S. lawyer regulation stakeholder conversations.

Legal Regulation of the Use of Artificial Intelligence: Problems and Development Prospects

The article considers the advantages and disadvantages of using artificial intelligence (AI) in various areas of human activity. Particular attention was paid to the use of AI in the legal field. Prospects for the use of AI in the legal field were identified. The relevance of research on the legal regulation of the use of AI was proved. The use of AI raises an important problem of the compliance with general principles of ensuring human rights. Emphasis is placed on the need to develop and use a Code of ethics for artificial intelligence and legislation that would prevent its misapplication and minimize possible harmful consequences.

Read the full article here.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales annual compliance officers conference goes hybrid

This key annual conference attracted 600 people to the face-to-face event, followed by more than 33,000 views of virtual sessions the following week.

The programme covered topics including:

  • Money laundering
  • The SQE and what it means for your firm
  • Innovation and technology – how can technology help firms spot risks and comply with regulatory obligations
  • Accounts rules – one year from implementation
  • Anti-money laundering – practical tips for managing AML risks
  • Your compliance queries
  • Cybercrime, Covid and homeworking and increased risk
  • Better information for customers

Read the full article and view the virtual sessions.

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has issued final guidance on reporting requirements under the Conduct and Client Care Rules

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has issued guidance on reporting requirements under the Conduct and Client care Rules. The rules came into force in July 2021 and attempt to clarify the behaviour expected of lawyers. The main goal of these guidelines is to tackle bully, harassment and discrimination in the New Zealand legal sector.

This final guidance has been issued after consultation with the legal profession. It is hoped this guidance will clarify the obligations of lawyers and provide advice on how to comply with the new rules.

Read the full article here.

The Victorian Legal Services Board in Australia has issued new guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment

The Victorian Legal Services Board has published new resources on its website for people who experience of witness sexual harassment in the Victorian legal sector. These resources contain practical guidance about what individuals can do at the time and in the aftermath of experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment.

These guidelines are being put in place to assist people who need them and are key elements of the boards regulatory strategy to build knowledge, skills and leadership in the legal sector.

Read the full article here.

The Bar Standards Board of England and Wales has published its regulatory decision making annual report

This is the second report of its type by the Bar Standards Board since the way regulatory decisions were made was reformed. The report finds that between April 2020 and March 2021 the number of reports and applications for exemptions substantially increased. This coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bar Standards Board has increased proactive supervision and support of the profession, focusing on key areas such as pupillage and bullying. Part of the this report has been to understand the impact of the pandemic on the profession and find out where support is most needed.

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Solicitors Regulation Authority publishes new anti-money laundering report

Work carried out to make sure solicitors keep criminals from using the profession to launder money has been detailed in a new review.

The SRA have published their first professional supervisor report, a recent requirement placed on all supervisors by both the Money Laundering Regulations and guidance by the Office for Professional Body Anti-money laundering Supervision (OPBAS) and HM Treasury. It sets out work over the last 12 months to help firms make sure their processes are effective and followed properly. That includes action taken against those firms that failed to take their obligations seriously.

A total of 85 firm visits took place, offering guidance on issues such as tax advice (the definition of which was expanded by the regulations this year) with another 168 desk-based reviews taking place. The most common reason for non-compliance with the anti-money laundering regulations was not having a proper risk assessment in place for AML matters, while other issues included poor client due diligence and checks on the source of funds.

Read the full report here.

California Bar launches access to justice consultation

The State Bar of California is seeking to solve the issue of access to justice many residents suffer given the high cost of legal services, by establishing a new paraprofessional. They estimate 85% of legal problems received no or inadequate help. It is hoped a new more affordable legal professional would go some way to mitigating this issue, which is faced not just in California but across the whole country.

This consultation with the public is aimed at informing them about what this paraprofessional would be, described as “to a lawyers what a nurse practitioner is to a doctor.” Members of the public are invited to feedback their thoughts until January 2022.

Read the full story here.