In the Media

?No limits? to regulation review

PUBLISHED June 5, 2013

Wednesday 05 June 2013 by John Hyde

The Ministry of Justice has said there will be no limits to a far-reaching review of the regulation of legal services.

Justice minister Helen Grant (pictured) today called on regulators and providers of legal services to show how the burden of regulation can be reduced.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Grant said the review would encompass the 'full breadth' of the legislative framework, including 10 pieces of primary legislation and more than 30 statutory instruments.

It also wants feedback on the interaction between individual regulators and the overarching regulator, the Legal Services Board.

Grant said: 'We have heard and listened to the views being expressed by many in the legal sector about regulation and we are taking action to help them.

'We want to reduce the burdens on the industry by simplifying the regulatory framework, while ensuring there is still appropriate oversight, and that is why we have started a review to see where and how improvements can be made.'

As a first stage the MoJ has asked professionals in the sector for views on the issues and their ideas for change. Once it receives all responses it will consider the next steps.

The call for evidence comes at a time of increasing tension between front-line regulators.

Both solicitors' and barristers' regulators, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board, have called for the scope of the LSB to be reduced, suggesting it has served it purpose since being introduced following the 2007 Legal Services Act.

In March, LSB chairman David Edmonds told the House of Commons justice committee that a single rolled-up regulator for solicitors and barristers could be created within three years.

He said there was a need for the LSB at present but backed an overhaul of the regulatory regime if it meant less confusion for the public.