In the Media

LSB gives regulators power to select their own boards

PUBLISHED May 2, 2014

The Solicitors Regulation Authority and other frontline regulators have been given the power to appoint their own boards after a change to regulatory rules.

The oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, announced that internal governance rules will be redrawn so all future appointments or reappointments to the boards of frontline regulators will be decided by the regulatory - rather than representative - bodies.

The Law Society had opposed the change on the grounds that regulators would be less accountable and transparent. But the LSB says the change ensures increased independence in legal services to safeguard the regulatory objectives of the Legal Services Act. The decision - and its timing - is unlikely to improve relations between the representative bodies and the over-arching regulator.

LSB chairman David Edmonds confirmed the decision yesterday, his final day in the role. 'This further removes the representative bodies from involvement in regulatory activities,' said Edmonds. 

'During the earlier consultation on lay chairs it was suggested to us  that the robustness of the appointments was  a very important factor in securing independent boards. I am pleased that my last acts as chairman of the Legal Services Board is to announce this change to help secure demonstrably independent and robust boards.'

The announcement comes a day after Edmonds told a conference that the time was right for a single independent regulator of legal services.

But the LSB was accused by Bar Standards Board chair Baroness Deech of advocating 'a single regulator staffed by quango kings and queens in the pocket of government'.

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