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Independent review of legal services regulation – Law Society response to interim report

13 January 2020

The proposals

In 2019, University College London (UCL) launched an independent review of legal services regulation led by Professor Stephen Mayson. We contributed to the two stages of the review. See our submissions to stage one and stage two.

In September 2019 the review moved to the third stage and Professor Mayson published an interim report setting out his proposals for the future regulation of the legal framework in England and Wales.

Our view

Having considered the strengths and weaknesses of the regulatory models outlined in the interim report, we are concerned that the proposals would lead to a less coherent alternative to the existing regime, creating a costly and complex system. This would lead to greater regulatory cost and uncertainty, undermining 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, such as reserved activities, professional titles and independence of the legal profession, must be retained in any future regulatory framework for legal services in order to underpin the rule of law and provide confidence in the justice system.

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