Super-regulator spearheads tech revolution

updated on 13 May 2021

The legal super-regulator is to use its powers to coordinate technological innovation in the sector, it has revealed. In a new report, Striking the Balance: how legal services regulation can foster responsible technological innovation, the Legal Services Board (LSB) urges front-line regulators to actively support developments to increase and improve safe access to legal services, saying they should be “open for business” if the public and consumers are to benefit.

The LSB identified key areas that would benefit from technological advancements, including access for citizens and small businesses, the efficiency and service quality of legal work and the diversity of entrants to the profession.

However, it also noted that regulators pushing for change need to be aware of the risks involved. These include ensuring progression does not isolate or leave behind those with low digital capability or literacy, and balancing the ethical and regulatory challenges of technologies such as artificial intelligence against their advantages. It suggests that regulators will have to work hard to achieve these benefits while protecting consumers and the overall legal system from potential harm. The next phase of the LSB’s work will follow on from its recently published Reshaping Legal Services to question whether current regulatory frameworks adequately protect consumers from risk.

Commenting on the report Matthew Hill, chief executive of the Legal Services Board, said: “Regulation can help build on the momentum that covid-19 has created and harness technology to reshape legal services to better meet the needs of society. Regulation can also help secure consumer confidence and build trust in new technology. Legal services regulators can take encouragement in opening up their regulatory arrangements to support new ways of delivering services for the benefit of consumers.”