LSB must give frontline regulators room to understand challenges facing the public
The Legal Services Board’s (LSB) draft policy statement on empowering consumers aims to improve consumers’ understanding and engagement with the legal services market.
The LSB proposes to set expectations for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and other frontline regulators around:
- public legal education (PLE)
- price, quality and service information
- redress and regulation
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “We are committed to promoting access to justice and to making sure that legal services meet people’s needs.
“Empowering consumers to engage more effectively with the legal market can help alleviate some of the underlying obstacles to obtaining professional legal advice.
“The LSB’s policy statement reflects the importance of PLE in addressing challenges for access to justice and consumer engagement.
“We encourage the LSB to engage in wider public policy interventions and extend its partnerships beyond legal regulators to develop impactful cross-sectoral PLE initiatives.
“The profession is committed to ensuring that clients have sufficient information before engaging a solicitor.
“Solicitors have also put significant effort into providing more information to clients on prices and services since the SRA transparency rules were introduced in 2018.
“We urge the LSB to give time for frontline regulators to understand better current levels of consumer engagement, and the nature and extent of any challenges the public face, before introducing new measures.
“Regulators should also be given more flexibility as to what specific remedies they may introduce.
“Given the diversity of the professions and practice areas covered by different frontline regulators, a flexible framework can ensure regulation is proportionate, targeted and delivers tailored approaches that consider the needs of clients, especially those in vulnerable circumstances.
“Any new proposals must be robustly assessed to understand the benefit for clients and the impact on the market, particularly small firms and sole practitioners.
“It is also important that regulators consider implications for diversity and inclusion, as Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors are often working as sole practitioners or in small firms.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with the LSB as it seeks to empower consumers in the legal services market.”
Notes to editors
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