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Legal Services Review

Volume 563: debated on Wednesday 5 June 2013

The complexities of the current legal services regulatory landscape have been raised with Ministers by a number of different stakeholders and through the red tape challenge, and Ministers have decided to undertake a review of the legal services statutory framework. The purpose of this review is to consider what could be done to simplify the regulatory framework and reduce unnecessary burdens on the legal sector while retaining appropriate regulatory oversight. This review will encompass the full breadth of the legislative framework, covering at least 10 pieces of primary legislation and over 30 statutory instruments. We are also open to comments on the interaction between the legislative framework and the detailed rules and regulations of the approved regulators, licensing authorities and of the Legal Services Board and Office for Legal Complaints; although we recognise that these are not owned by the Ministry of Justice.

We are starting the review with a “call for evidence” from stakeholders. At this initial stage, we are interested in hearing about concerns with, and ideas for reducing, regulatory burdens and simplifying the legal services regulatory framework. We would be interested in ideas covering the overall legislative framework, and any specific provisions or aspects within it. The evidence provided will be analysed to identify potential ways in which the framework might be simplified while retaining appropriate regulatory oversight. Following the analysis, Ministers will decide on next steps.

We are seeking views from a range of stakeholders across the legal services sector including the representative and regulatory arms of each of the approved regulators and licensing authorities, and those applying to be approved regulators/licensing authorities, the Legal Services Board, Office for Legal Complaints, Legal Services Consumer Panel, Office of Fair Trading, consumer bodies, legal academics and the judiciary. We will also be seeking views from persons providing legal services.