The Legal Services Board (LSB) oversees 10 frontline legal regulators, which in turn regulate the various legal professions. This includes the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which regulates solicitors in England and Wales.
Every year the LSB produces a business plan, which sets out its priorities for the next 12 months.
The LSB's draft business plan has identified the initial packages of work that they intend to deliver in relation to the policy objectives set out in last year's three-year strategic plan.
This year's business plan is aimed at:
- promoting the public interest through ensuring independent, effective and proportionate regulation
- making it easier for all consumers to access the services they need and get redress, and
- increasing innovation, growth and the diversity of services and providers.
We were broadly supportive of the LSB's proposed objectives, but are concerned that they need to reflect more closely all of the regulatory objectives prescribed in the Legal Services Act 2007.
We suggest that during a time of change and uncertainty the LSB should concentrate more on instilling stability and confidence.
We remain apprehensive that significant regulatory reforms driven by frontline regulators further complicate matters for those working in the legal sector.
We are calling for the LSB to make greater use of available data when approving frontline regulators' proposals for rule changes.
What this means for solicitors
The ability of the LSB to influence the SRA is limited, but they are still important in providing direction and setting broad objectives for the legal sector.
If the LSB commits to basing their decisions in the best available evidence, and ensuring that frontline regulators carry out any assessments that they promise to make as part of an application for the approval of a new policy, regulatory changes will become more incremental, more targeted, easier to implement, and more beneficial to consumers and solicitors alike.
The consultation closed on Wednesday 27 February.
The Law Society is open to discuss any of the issues raised in our response. We await with interest the LSB's finalised business plan.
View the consultation on the LSB website