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Defence Defence

Strengthen legal services regulation

Last updated: 01:57pm 31 December 2018

We will strengthen legal services regulation…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.41

Our verdict

Following military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the previous government made the argument that an industry of exploitative lawyers had sprung up to enrich themselves by pursuing “vexatious claims” against British military personnel.

This policy, along with three others (see below), aims to prevent claims from what the manifesto describes as “unscrupulous law firms” by strengthening legal services regulation.

The basis for regulation of legal services in England and Wales is the Legal Services Act 2007 which created the Legal Services Board (LSB), responsible for overseeing the ten approved legal regulators.

During this government’s term of office, the LSB has undertaken a consultation on its internal governance rules. Its aim was to reach a decision on whether changes were required to “enhance regulatory independence”, so the outcome does not have a direct bearing on this promise to “strengthen” regulation.

However, within the consultation and also within its response to the consultation the LSB specifically mentions:

“the low likelihood of a review by government of the legislative framework for the regulation of legal services”

If government is to strengthen regulation it would require changes to that legislative framework.

We found no evidence of plans or implementation of such changes, and the body overseeing regulators believes there is a “low likelihood of a review” by government, so we’re marking this as ‘not started’. We’ll be checking back to see if anything stirs in legislative terms, so follow this policy for updates.

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