The Legal Services Board (LSB) has accepted The Law Society’s (TLS’s) report in response to the undertakings given by TLS following the LSB’s Investigation into the Law Society’s oversight and monitoring arrangements for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, published on 31 May 2018. The LSB agrees that the undertakings have been fulfilled and this formally closes the investigation.
The LSB is also publishing TLS’s undertakings report and the submission from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in response to TLS’s report and as required by the undertakings.
Legal Services Board Chief Executive Neil Buckley said:
“We welcome the actions taken by The Law Society in response to our report. It is crucial that the changes made to the procedures and practices continue to be embedded within the Society. The LSB will continue to hold The Law Society accountable to ensure that behaviour change in regard to regulatory compliance remains firmly established.
The investigation focused on breaches to the existing Internal Governance Rules. The LSB is currently considering consultation responses on new rules which are designed to mitigate the practices such as those found as a result of the investigation, which impeded the effectiveness of the SRA.“
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Notes for editors:
- The LSB letter to The Law Society, The Law Society undertakings report and the SRA submission can be found here.
- The Legal Services Board’s investigation report and details about the enforcement action can be found here. The report covered the period from autumn 2014 to 15 February 2017.
- The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) does not create a framework in which all regulatory bodies are structurally separate from representative bodies. Rather, it creates approved regulators which may have both representative and regulatory functions. The LSB’s responsibilities include a duty under section 30 of the Act to make Internal Governance Rules (IGR) setting out requirements that ARs must meet to ensure the independent exercise of regulatory functions.
- TLS updated its General Regulations in October 2017 so that (amongst other things) the SRA is now responsible for designing and managing the appointments and reappointments process for its own Board members.
- Learning from this investigation has been fed into the ongoing LSB review of its IGR, details of which can be found here.
- The LSB’s statement of policy for enforcement can be found here.
- 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.