Education and training

Oversight for education and training.

Section 4 of the Legal Services Act 2007 states that ‘The Board must assist in the maintenance and development of standards in relation to –

  1. the regulation by approved regulators of persons authorised by them to carry on activities which are reserved legal activities, and
  2. the education and training of persons so authorised.

Well-functioning arrangements for education and training contribute positively toward the promotion of the regulatory objectives. This is particularly the case for the following three regulatory objectives:

  1. Protecting and promoting the interests of consumers
  2. Promoting competition in the provision of services
  3. Encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession

These objectives are promoted by education and training frameworks that ensure well qualified and competent legal professionals, while encouraging competition between education providers and diverse routes of access to the profession. This in turn should promote competition between authorised persons and lead to more choice for consumers.

The outcomes we seek for education and training

Our 2014 statutory guidance on education and training sets out the outcomes that the LSB wants education and training arrangements to deliver. They are as follows:

  1. Education and training requirements focus on what an individual must know, understand and be able to do at the point of authorisation
  2. Providers of education and training have the flexibility to determine how to deliver training, education and experience that meets the outcomes required
  3. Standards are set that find the right balance between what is required at the point of authorisation and what can be fulfilled through ongoing competency requirements
  4. Regulators successfully balance obligations for education and training between the individual and the entity both at the point of entry and on an ongoing basis
  5. Regulators place no inappropriate direct or indirect restrictions on the numbers entering the profession

Regulators must have regard to this guidance when reforming their education and training arrangements. Stakeholders with an interest in education and training may find this guidance helpful when considering reform proposals from front line regulators.

What are we doing on education and training

Working with the approved regulators

  1. Holding the legal services regulators to account for their education and training arrangements for their regulated communities through our regulatory performance work stream.
  2. Assessing proposed rules changes to education and training arrangements to ensure that they do not adversely affect the regulatory objectives.

Taking a lead on cross cutting issues

  1. Considering education and training as part of relevant LSB policy projects. An example of this is our 2018/19 project on Technology and Regulation’ where we are considering links to education and training.
  2. From time to time we might carry out research either directly on education and training issues or on wider issues which link to education and training. An example of this is LSB research on aptitude testing and the legal profession, which supported the Legal Education and Training Review(LETR).LETR was published in 2013 was a large review of education and training arrangements led by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards (now CILEx Regulation).
  3. Engaging with stakeholders with an interest in education and training to maintain a rich and broad understanding of all the issues relevant to education and training. An example of this is a substantial engagement exercise we carried out between November 2017 and January 2018.
  4. Holding a watching brief on cross cutting issues for education and training. Work on this includes consideration of how reforms by one regulator might affect other regulated professions.

What has happened and is happening on education and training.

Since the publication of the Legal Education and Training Review in 2013 front line regulators have carried out a number of changes to their regulatory arrangements for education and training. These include

  1. Three regulators have moved to an outcomes focused approach to Continuing Professional Development.
  2. Five regulators have produced a competency statement setting out what an authorised person must be able to do on his or her first day of practice.

Examples of ongoing reforms to education and training.

  1. Future Bar Training
  2. Solicitors Qualifying Exam