The Ministry of Justice is set to forge ahead with separating legal regulators from their representative bodies, and has revealed further plans to review how the Legal Services Board (LSB) and Legal Ombudsman are operating in a bid to drive efficiency.
Last week the issue over whether to grant the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) full independence from the Law Society hit more turbulence with the former appealing to the government to get on with executing the plans.
Though scheduled for spring this year, it has yet to happen, casting doubts over the government’s intention to move forward with the agenda.
However in a statement yesterday (1 November), the MoJ told Legal Business: ‘We intend to consult in due course on making regulators independent from their representative bodies.’
‘Independent regulation makes sure the consumer and public interest are at the heart of regulation. We will consider the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority market study when it is completed.’
A further assessment will be carried out on the profession’s Legal Services Board and Legal Ombudsman as part of a ‘tailored review’ that all government departments conduct every five or so years at least once in the lifetime of Parliament.
A statement read: ‘[These] reviews will examine whether there is a continuing need for the function and form of each organisation. If it is agreed that either of the organisations be retained, the reviews will look at their capacity for delivering more effectively and efficiently, and will include an assessment of their performance.’
‘It will also review the control and governance arrangements to make sure they meet the recognised principles of good corporate governance.’
Other contentious issues levied against the profession by the justice department this year included when former secretary Michael Gove floated plans to impose a fee on City law firms to fund the courts.