The Legal Services Board (LSB) – the independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales – has published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019.
The report, the LSB’s first since the appointment of Dr Helen Phillips as Chair for a five-year term, charts the latest phase in the delivery of the Board’s priorities under its 2018-2021 three year strategic plan, including:
- Monitoring the progress of regulators against action plans in response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations on price transparency for consumers;
- The LSB’s first formal assessments of regulators’ progress against our new regulatory performance framework as well as the outcomes in our revised diversity guidance;
- The LSB’s day-to-day statutory decision-making work – including approval of:
- applications from four frontline regulators to implement transparency requirements,
- the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Looking to the Future application, and
- the Bar Standards Board’s adoption of the Civil Standard of Proof for professional misconduct hearings.
- Consultation on a set of new internal governance rules (IGR) and guidance, with the intention of maximising regulatory independence – and boosting public confidence in that independence – within the current legal framework.
The report also highlights three new five-year policy objectives announced in April 2019 as part of the 2019/20 Business Plan; the objectives will be key markers for the delivery of strategic priorities, and focus on ongoing professional competence, public legal education and technology.
Neil Buckley, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board said:
“This year’s report – my last as Chief Executive of the LSB – illustrates our steadfast commitment to securing independent regulation, holding the legal services regulators to account, and ensuring that the legal services market works in the interests of consumers and the public.
As we move into the second year of our current strategic plan, we have refined our thinking around the strategic priorities, and developed three new objectives as key markers of our success. Looking back at our work over the last year, I’m confident that the LSB is in a strong position to deliver on all three of the objectives, as well as on the areas of ongoing work identified in the report.
Though I will be stepping down in September, the Board and colleagues look forward to working with our new Chief executive, Matthew Hill and with regulators and other stakeholders to build on the work that has been done to date.”
For further information, please contact our Communications Manager on 020 7271 0068.
Notes for editors:
- LSB Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19 (PDF). The report was laid before Parliament and published on 27 June 2019.
- LSB costs statement 2018/19 (PDF).
- The LSB was set up on 1 January 2009. It took on its full powers on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB is a small organisation. As of 31 March 2019 the LSB had 24 full-time staff and 10 part time employees. 56% of the staff complement was female.
- The LSB operates at nil cost to the public purse and its expenditure in 2018/19 was £3.725m against a budget of £3.798m resulting in an under spend of £73k.
- The total amount levied per person authorised to undertake reserved legal activates for the 2018/19 period is £20.01.
- The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB oversees ten approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is an approved regulator for probate activities only but does not currently authorise anyone to offer this service.
- As at 1 April 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £31 billion per annum (2016) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.