Legal Services Board • Robert Cross
Legal services in England and Wales • Headline numbers
Why? Legal services reform
Office of Fair Trading – Competition in Professions 2001 Clementi Review 2004 - Regulation outdated, inflexible, over complex, lacking accountability and transparency – No independence in complaint handling Lack of innovation Technology Falling public trust in professions Economic pressures Unmet need Why?
Good article: http://lexislegalintelligence.co.uk/intelligence/blawg/2013/07/gain-your-clients-trust-its-time-to-use-price-tags/ Unmet need?
Legal Services Act 2007 • Regulation in numbers
Current regulation of legal services Ministry of Justice Office of Fair Trading European law Legal Services Board Consumer Law Case law Trading standards Master of the Faculties CLSB Consumer Bodies Competition Law Approved Regulators CLC IP RB Empowered consumers e.g. Large corporate Professional bodies/trade associations ILEX PS SRA BSB Custom & Practice Media Other regulators e.g. FSA, ACCA etc.
The LSB the story so far.... • The first three years.... • Liberalising ownership through alternative business structures • Establishing an independent Legal Ombudsman • Separation of regulation within professional bodies • The current priorities.... • Improving and assuring performance of legal regulators • Simplification of regulation to support growth • Better consumer protection where needed
Alternative Business Structures • The first twenty months or so
Challenges and opportunities • Opportunities • Significant unmet legal need • Only 49% of individuals seek advice and only 18% from a solicitor • Only 29% of small businesses seek advice and only 12% from a solicitor • Transparency of costs and their ability to judge value for money was the reason for the reluctance to seek advice • Challenges • Competition - from outside as well as inside regulation • Economic difficulties – making new and old models work • Political changes - Legal Aid and personal injury • Consumer demands
Conclusions • LSB is a small, ambitious organisation with potentially a short lifespan • The Legal Services Act 2007 has led to a significant drive to reform the legal services market in England and Wales • Significant reforms have already been introduced – independent regulation and Alternative Business Structures • The next phase of work is challenging but could significantly improve the market for legal firms and consumers
Thank you and questions • research.legalservicesboard.org.uk