Unsettled forecast for 2014 as MoJ unveils court fee consultation and CBA announces legal aid strike

Unsettled forecast for 2014 as MoJ unveils court fee consultation and CBA announces legal aid strike

Following a year of protests over legal aid cuts and court reforms from a profession better known for its quiet conservatism, 2014 promises more of the same after the government this month launched a consultation over the levying of sizeable court fees in commercial claims and the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) announced a half-day strike of its members on 6 January.

The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) consultation on fees includes a proposal for imposing percentage-based court fees that could see the cost of a £400,000 piece of commercial litigation increase by £20,000, with around five percent added on top of the total running costs. Continue reading “Unsettled forecast for 2014 as MoJ unveils court fee consultation and CBA announces legal aid strike”

Closer scrutiny for the Bar as BSB introduces tougher supervision measures

Undeterred by the Bar’s reaction to its recent grading scheme for criminal advocates, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) today (5 October) announced new, more rigorous supervision arrangements for Chambers, aimed at curbing ‘ineffective governance and inadequate pupillage training.’

From January 2014, all Chambers will be required to participate in the new process, which will see the BSB assess how efficiently sets and sole practitioners are managing potential risks, while those identified as ‘high risk’ will be targeted by the BSB for remedial measures. Continue reading “Closer scrutiny for the Bar as BSB introduces tougher supervision measures”

Training for tomorrow – SRA outlines outcomes-focused approach to legal education

Training for tomorrow – SRA outlines outcomes-focused approach to legal education

‘While the current education and training system has served us well, technology, changing consumer demands and the regulatory system itself are shaping the ways in which legal services are delivered. Legal education and training must adapt to reflect these wider changes.’

So says the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in today’s (15 October) ‘Training for Tomorrow’ report, which proposes moving to an outcomes-focused approach to legal education, with less input from the regulators on how to achieve competence and ongoing training. Continue reading “Training for tomorrow – SRA outlines outcomes-focused approach to legal education”

Tension and infighting as barristers resign from BSB panel over quality assurance scheme

Tension and infighting as barristers resign from BSB panel over quality assurance scheme

Tensions surrounding the regulation of the various limbs of the legal profession are at an all-time high as this week saw a number of barristers resign from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) disciplinary prosecution panel in protest at the imminent launch of a new quality assurance scheme.

The resignations come in a month that have revealed in more detail than ever the infighting between the various regulatory and representative bodies after the Ministry of Justice called for evidence on how best to regulate the profession going forward. Continue reading “Tension and infighting as barristers resign from BSB panel over quality assurance scheme”

Sorry the hardest word as Bar Council apologises for getting its sums wrong

Sorry the hardest word as Bar Council apologises for getting its sums wrong

In an embarrassing setback The Bar Council has apologised for incorrect figures submitted to the Ministry of Justice in support of its proposals to abolish the Legal Services Board (LSB).

The error came as the Bar’s representative body on 17 September put forward its proposals in response to the government’s call for proposals on ‘what could be done to simplify the regulatory framework and reduce unnecessary burdens on the legal sector while retaining appropriate regulatory oversight.’

Continue reading “Sorry the hardest word as Bar Council apologises for getting its sums wrong”

SRA reviews firm finances amid ‘perfect storm’ while KPMG reveals cost of Cobbetts collapse

SRA reviews firm finances amid ‘perfect storm’ while KPMG reveals cost of Cobbetts collapse

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has begun an evaluation of financial data gathered from 2,000 law firms after warning earlier this summer that an increasing number of the UK’s 11,000 law firms face financial collapse due to a ‘toxic combination of factors causing a perfect storm’. Elsewhere, the latest report from KPMG reveals the total bill for winding down Cobbetts currently stands at nearly £1.7m.

Continue reading “SRA reviews firm finances amid ‘perfect storm’ while KPMG reveals cost of Cobbetts collapse”

After mounting controversy Bar watchdogs face court challenge to procedures in high-stakes move

After mounting controversy Bar watchdogs face court challenge to procedures in high-stakes move

Regulators are never popular but the Bar’s watchdogs have seen sustained controversy finally escalate into a court challenge to their procedures.

The High Court earlier this month heard a claim for judicial review of the Bar’s regulatory procedures related to problems with the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and Bar disciplinary tribunals identified last year. Continue reading “After mounting controversy Bar watchdogs face court challenge to procedures in high-stakes move”

Structural challenges – Risk Management Round Table 2012

Structural challenges – Risk Management Round Table 2012

The fifth LB/Marsh round table brought together a group of risk experts to discuss the practical effects of alternative business structures and who to appoint in key management roles created by the SRA.

The timing could not have been better – the fifth risk round table hosted by LB and Marsh took place at the end of March, just a day after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) issued its first three licences for alternative business structures (ABS) under the Legal Services Act. Unsurprisingly, then, the topic of ABS and commercial law firms taking on external capital was high on the agenda.

Continue reading “Structural challenges – Risk Management Round Table 2012”