In 2018, University College London (UCL) launched an independent review of legal services regulation led by Professor Stephen Mayson.
In February 2019 we contributed to the initial stage of the review. Read our submission.
In March the review moved to the second stage and Professor Mayson published two new working papers:
- regulatory focus, considering what and whom to regulate
- regulatory structure, considering how regulation would work
We have submitted our response to these papers.
Having considered the strengths and weaknesses of the regulatory models outlined in the latest working papers, we are not clear whether these would lead to a simpler and more coherent alternative or lead to greater regulatory uncertainty and undermine the rule of law, the administration of justice and the UK’s attractiveness as a world-leading jurisdiction.
The legal services sector is a complex, fundamental part of our society. Careful consideration must be given to competing factors that need to be finely balanced to ensure that one does not override the others in a detrimental way or bring about unintended consequences.
Any reforms would have to be carefully weighed to ensure that intended benefits substantially outweigh any potential for negative impact and would deliver measurable, positive outcomes.
In this context, key features of the current regulatory framework and landmarks of our jurisdiction must be retained in any future regulatory framework for legal services, including:
- reserved activities
- professional titles
- independence of the legal profession
These are necessary to underpin the rule of law and provide confidence in the justice system.