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Lord Chancellor in Talks on Regulatory Reform

By John Hyde » Ministry of Justice officials have met frontline legal services regulators for discussions on the future regulation of the profession, the Lord Chancellor has revealed. Michael Gove pledged in June to conduct a review of the Legal Services Act within the current parliament. He said then that the act, which set up the current legal services regulatory system, creates a ‘danger of regulators falling over each other’s feet’. The date for the review remains unknown, but Gove has confirmed that civil servants have begun the groundwork through talks with the SRA, BSB and other interested groups. In a letter to House of Commons justice committee chair Bob Neill MP, Gove said he is considering when the review should begin and what it should cover, in the context of t h e government spending review to be announced this week. Gove also revealed that he is considering consulting on deregulatory amendments to the 2007 act ‘in the near future’. This follows proposals in joint letters from the oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, and frontline regulators, sent to the government in July. The regulators are believed to have asked why alternative business structures are assumed to present a greater risk and therefore face a greater burden of regulation. They also suggest that reforms could be made to rules around handling client money. In his letter, Gove encourages Neill to ‘consider the merits’ of postponing its post-legislative assessment of the Legal Services Act.


[Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette].