LSB consultation on altering regulatory arrangements – Law Society response

The proposals

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has produced new draft rules and guidance on how frontline regulators can apply to alter regulatory arrangements.

The draft rules and guidance are intended to provide a clear framework for the requirements for approved regulators and their regulatory bodies seeking the LSB’s approval of alterations to their regulatory arrangements.

Applications will need to demonstrate a focus on regulatory objectives, specifically promoting the regulatory objectives and making changes that are in the public interest.

Regulators will need to demonstrate that they've considered the impact of alterations, including focusing on substantive issues such as the impact on diversity and inclusion (including assessing the impact of proposals on persons with protected characteristics).

Our view

We’re largely supportive of the new rules and make only relatively minor suggestions.

The new rules and guidance will improve quality of rule-change applications.

We believe that requiring regulators to provide a robust cost-benefit analysis for any change proposals will further improve the quality of rule-change applications, as the LSB will be able to ensure consistent evidence-based regulation of legal services, which has been lacking in the past.

What this means for solicitors

On a number of occasions in the past, we’ve raised concerns with the LSB about a lack of supportive evidence and impact assessments in the rule-change applications made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

We believe that the proposals in the consultation should help address this.

We therefore see this as both good news for solicitors but also for all consumers of legal services.

Next steps

The consultation closes on 30 July 2021.

The LSB will consider all feedback received and make any resulting amendments to its proposals.

The LSB will publish its response, alongside any changes to the proposals, in autumn 2021.

Read the consultation on the LSB website (PDF)

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