updated on 24 August 2018
The Law Society has said that concerns about the deregulation of the profession must be considered, and new rules rejected, by the Legal Services Board (LSB).
The LSB is looking at proposals put forward by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that would, according to the Law Society, create different tiers of solicitors and reduce consumer protection.
In a strongly worded statement, Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said that the SRA is “pursuing a deregulatory agenda based on flawed premises and at the expense of consumers”. She continues: “The misguided proposals now being considered by the oversight regulator fail the litmus tests for regulation: they jeopardise the public interest and risk weakening the rule of law. The proposals are not supported by robust impact assessments or cost-benefit analysis appropriate for rule changes that will fundamentally change the legal services landscape. The rule change application to the LSB is misleading. It overstates support and understates opposition, disregarding consumer groups, legal experts and evidence stacked against its propositions.”
Blacklaws also warns that those most at risk, and with greatest need of access to legal advice, will be disadvantaged: “We are concerned that unmet legal demand would increase as vulnerable clients could become less confident about seeking legal advice. The regulator has even acknowledged that vulnerable clients are less likely to benefit from the remedies it proposes to mitigate consumer confusion.”