LSB launches LawTech podcasts and research papers

The Legal Services Board has today launched a new podcast series designed to assist legal services regulators and providers in responding to the ethical and regulatory challenges presented by disruptive technologies.

In episode one, legal services consultant Alison Hook identifies the lessons to be learned from abroad and compares the varying responses to technology by regulators internationally.

Episode two sees King’s College London’s Professor Roger Brownsword go beyond legal services to understand whether UK financial services and medical device regulators may have wisdom to share with legal services regulators.

These podcasts are the first in a planned series and supplement research papers written by experts for the LSB as part of its ongoing project:  Developing approaches to regulation for the use of technology in legal services.

Future topics include: blockchain; the implications of technology for legal education and training; and the suitability of the Legal Services Act as a framework for regulating technology.

The LSB’s Chair, Dr Helen Phillips, said:

“I’m delighted to be able to share this first phase of our project to help legal services regulators develop their respective approaches to regulating the use of technology in legal services.

As technology takes a greater role in the delivery of services to consumers, there are clearly huge benefits to be had in terms of access to justice, efficiency and consumer satisfaction. Chatbots, blockchain, smartcontracts – all of these technologies have the potential to revolutionise the practice of law and make it easier for consumers to access and use legal services.

As with all new developments, however, technology brings the challenge of how regulators should respond, along with questions of responsibility and ethics. As one of its three new five-year policy objectives, the Board will work to ensure that access to legal services is increased through the promotion of responsible technological innovation that carries public trust.

This new series of papers and podcasts marks the LSB’s first published work under this objective and I’m particularly grateful to contributors for their insights.”

To listen to the podcast, read the research papers and get more information on the LSB’s technology project, visit –



For further information, please email or call on 020 7271 0068.


Notes for editors:

  1. Alison Hook is the co-founder of Hook Tangaza following the merger of Hook International and Tangaza Advisory Services in 2016. Alison leads on Hook Tangaza’s technical assistance, trade and regulatory work. Before setting up Hook International in 2011, Alison was the Director of International at the Law Society of England and Wales where she played a leading role in advocating for more open legal markets and working with government to develop an export promotion strategy for UK legal services. Earlier in her career, Alison worked for the European Commission, both in London and Brussels and for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and Lagos. She graduated in economics from the University of Edinburgh and holds a Masters in Economics from Warwick University and an MBA from the Open University.
  1. Roger Brownsword, who is a graduate of the London School of Economics, has been an academic lawyer for more than 40 years. Currently, he is Professor of Law at King’s College London, where he was the founding director of TELOS (a research centre that focuses on technology, ethics, law and society), an honorary professor at the University of Sheffield, and a visiting professor at Singapore Management University. He is the founding general editor of the leading European journal, Law, Innovation and Technology as well as being on the editorial board or committee of journals that include the Modern Law Review, the International Journal of Law and Information Technology, and the (upcoming) Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Professor Brownsword has acted as a specialist adviser to parliamentary committees dealing with stems cells and hybrid embryos. From 2004-2010, he was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics; and, currently, he is Chair of the Ethics and Governance Council of UK Biobank. He was a member of the Law panel for the UK RAE2008 and he is a member of the international Law panel for the national research assessment being conducted in Hong Kong in 2014.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 £35 billion per annum (2018) which is up 25% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.

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