Proposals to monitor ethics across an increasingly diverse legal services market are set out by the Legal Services Board (LSB) today.
Its report says that ensuring the integrity of the profession in this way is central to maintaining public confidence in the rule of law.
The report examines ways of better understanding the ethics of legal services providers in a newly liberalised market. It investigates how empirical research can be used to track ethics and outlines a series of tools to monitor whether individuals are complying with their core ethical obligations. It also proposes a work programme to generate data around ethics.
Professor Richard Moorhead, University College London's Centre for Ethics and Law director, who led the report team, said: 'There is a growing recognition amongst professional regulators and sophisticated legal service suppliers that properly managing the ethics of their service goes beyond providing codes of conduct and policing complaints. We can and should develop cutting edge approaches to professional ethics. This report shows that better tools can be developed to understand and promote the ethicality of practice.'
LSB chief executive Chris Kenny said: 'Regulators, professional bodies and professionals need to better understand the drivers for ethical behaviour and be able to tack changes in a way that goes beyond what the report rightly characterises as the 'anecdote and argument' of past discussions. That's why we welcome… this very thorough and imaginative report.'