Regulatory independence certificates for 2012 and the LSB’s assessment of those responses are set out in the table below.
Building on experience of previous years’ Internal Governance Rules (IGR) processes, the 2012 process moved away from expecting the Applicable Approved Regulators (AARs) – i.e. those approved regulators who have representative arms – to undertake a detailed assessment against the schedule to the IGRs.
The key focus of this year’s exercise was to understand to what extent compliance with the IGRs are delivering regulatory independence in practice. The process of the dual self-certification was again used, albeit in a more focused way.
The exceptions to this approach were the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) /The Law Society and Cost Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) / Association of Cost Lawyers (ACL). Given ongoing reporting by the SRA / The Law Society (under section 55 of the Legal Services Act), which was an outcome of the 2011 IGRs process, we concluded that we should not seek a certificate from them this time.
On 31 October 2011, the separation of the professional and representative arms of ACL was achieved when regulatory functions were delegated to CLSB. This meant that CLSB and ACL had not yet undertaken an assessment against the Schedule to the IGRs. We therefore asked them to undertake an assessment against the full Schedule of the IGRs and submit a dual self-certificate as part of this year’s process.
Unlike previous years, the request to the AARs was addressed to the regulators, with the professional bodies provided with the option of commenting on the regulator’s assessment and counter-signing it.