Review of process for alterations to regulatory arrangements


The LSB is currently reviewing the process for how regulatory bodies alter their regulatory arrangements.

Assessing applications from our regulated community for alterations to their regulatory arrangements is one of the LSB’s core statutory functions. A key focus of this process is considering the impact of the proposed changes on the Regulatory Objectives [PDF] set out in the Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act), including the impact on consumers, the public interest and competition in the market.

Reviewing our framework

Although we last amended the existing Rules and Guidance in 2018, our process for assessing applications for alterations to regulatory arrangements remains largely unchanged since it was first introduced in 2010. In this time, the LSB’s overall approach to regulation has evolved significantly.

The LSB has assessed around 150 applications and issued more than 165 exemptions since the application process began.

With this wealth of experience, alongside the evolution of the LSB’s approach to regulation over time, we consider now is a good time to review the process to ensure its purpose is clear and consistent with the exercise of our wider powers and specifically, that the process is appropriately focused on ensuring alterations are developed to promote the Regulatory Objectives.

What have we done so far?

Initially we looked back on common issues and concerns encountered in assessing previous applications. This allowed us to start to develop some early themes and working proposals.

In December 2020, we commenced the first round of our engagement with all regulatory bodies [PDF]  to gather their views on the current process and their perspective on potential improvements. These meetings have continued into 2021 and we expect to meet with interested approved regulators [PDF] in due course.

A paper was considered by our Board in January 2021 setting out the overarching objectives of the review – Regulatory Arrangements [PDF]

What do we plan to do next?

We will complete our initial stakeholder meetings and then undertake further work analysing stakeholder discussions. We will also obtain legal advice to help inform our position.

We will then issue a consultation on proposed new rules and guidance in Q1 of our 2021/22 business plan year.