Wednesday 24 October 2012 by Michael Cross

Continuing to practise as a lawyer will depend on regular positive reviews from clients and colleagues if the Legal Services Consumer Panel has its way. In its latest submission to the Legal Education and Training Review, set up by the three main regulators, the consumer champion calls on the review to 'be bold'.

'The review team must not be dragged down by vested interests striving to protect the status quo, but instead set out a bold blueprint for the future.'

On reaccreditation, the panel, chaired by Elisabeth Davies (pictured), says 'technical competence must be demonstrated regularly through evidence, not assumed'.

It says future reaccreditation must close 'skills gaps in client relations'. These 'will only be addressed if the experiences of clients are made an integral part of the process for reviewing lawyer performance'.

As an example, the panel notes current proposals for doctors' revalidation, which includes a requirement to obtain feedback from at least 35 patients and colleagues every five years. 'Therefore it is not enough for lawyers to attend training courses and the like to keep their knowledge and skills up to date; there must be a much more founded and evidenced view of their continuing fitness to practise.'

The panel also calls for consumers to have a voice in implementing the training review's report, which is due in December.

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