Comment: The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang

Comment: The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang

As our October/November issue hits desks, it will be ten years since the Legal Services Act gained Royal Assent, ushering in the most liberal services market in the world by some margin. Given that span of time, and the five years since the most radical elements of the act came into force with the regime for alternative business structures (ABS), it is natural to ask if it has lived up to billing.

There clearly was an impact of sorts, supporting an environment where new business models and fresh thinking were encouraged. That renewed the legal ambitions of the accountants, encouraged the pioneering UK launch of Slater and Gordon, and made Co-op as close as we have got to Tesco law. After a slow initial start there are now over 700 licensed ABSs in England and Wales, representing a significant chunk of the market. Also significant is the messy regulatory fallout and ongoing turf war that it triggered, which has continued with varying degrees of intensity ever since. Continue reading “Comment: The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang”

The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang

The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang

As this issue hits desks, it will be ten years since the Legal Services Act gained Royal Assent, ushering in the most liberal services market in the world by some margin. Given that span of time, and the five years since the most radical elements of the act came into force with the regime for alternative business structures (ABS), it is natural to ask if it has lived up to billing.

There clearly was an impact of sorts, supporting an environment where new business models and fresh thinking were encouraged. That renewed the legal ambitions of the accountants, encouraged the pioneering UK launch of Slater and Gordon, and made Co-op as close as we have got to Tesco law. After a slow initial start there are now over 700 licensed ABSs in England and Wales, representing a significant chunk of the market. Also significant is the messy regulatory fallout and ongoing turf war that it triggered, which has continued with varying degrees of intensity ever since. Continue reading “The Legal Services Act ten years on – still waiting for the Big Bang”

Law Society settles ‘mortifying’ market abuse case with training provider

Law Society settles ‘mortifying’ market abuse case with training provider

In a move that should draw a line under a controversial competition dispute, the Law Society has settled with online training provider Socrates after it was found to have abused its dominant market position by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) over training tied to its conveyancing accreditation scheme.

Socrates had issued the claim last year, alleging that the Law Society’s requirement for law firms to buy anti-money laundering (AML) and mortgage fraud training from it as a condition to maintain their Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditation (CQS) was anticompetitive. Continue reading “Law Society settles ‘mortifying’ market abuse case with training provider”

Bar watchdog issues public apology to silk over Djibouti allegations

Bar watchdog issues public apology to silk over Djibouti allegations

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today (19 September) issued a highly unusual apology to Serle Court’s Khawar Qureshi QC after the senior barrister was subjected to a year-long investigation over unfounded misconduct allegations.

The matter turned on Qureshi’s representation of East African republic Djibouti in a high-profile civil fraud case between the state and the businessman Abdourahman Boreh. In April 2015 another barrister involved in the proceedings made three allegations that the silk had misled High Court judge Justice Flaux.

Continue reading “Bar watchdog issues public apology to silk over Djibouti allegations”

Guest post: You’re masterful, Mr President: Standards of proof debate takes odd turn

Guest post: You’re masterful, Mr President: Standards of proof debate takes odd turn

There are some interesting comments highlighted in a story on Legal Futures this month  by the president of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) regarding a BSB consultation.

‘The SDT will remain the master of its own destiny in this debate. Its membership will do what it believes to be right in a rational, informed, evidence-based manner. Continue reading “Guest post: You’re masterful, Mr President: Standards of proof debate takes odd turn”

Civil court service fees generate £102m surplus for government as job cuts continue

Civil court service fees generate £102m surplus for government as job cuts continue

The civil courts generated a £100m surplus in their most recent year according to new figures that are bound to hike concerns over the use of civil courts to subsidise the justice system.

Over the last year, HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has generated fee income of nearly £800m, £186m from family justice fees and more than £602m from civil justice fees, surpassing its own spend by £102m, while cuts to the service continue. Continue reading “Civil court service fees generate £102m surplus for government as job cuts continue”

Clifford Chance turns to Clydes as SRA launches probe into firm on Excalibur litigation

Clifford Chance turns to Clydes as SRA launches probe into firm on Excalibur litigation

Clifford Chance (CC) has instructed lawyers at Clyde & Co to represent it in an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), reportedly involving the firm’s part in the Excalibur professional negligence case, resulting from a claim in which an appeal judge criticised CC for an ‘acute’ conflict of interest.

Continue reading “Clifford Chance turns to Clydes as SRA launches probe into firm on Excalibur litigation”

Fieldfisher advises SRA on outsourcing contract for delivering new super-exam

Fieldfisher advises SRA on outsourcing contract for delivering new super-exam

Fieldfisher is advising the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on the contractual agreements for the provider which will eventually assist the SRA in delivering the new Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE), also known as ‘the super-exam.’

Continue reading “Fieldfisher advises SRA on outsourcing contract for delivering new super-exam”