Modernising legal services: the LSB’s latest business plan

Modernising legal services: the LSB’s latest business plan

Baroness Deech, chair of the Bar Standards Board, looks at the final year of the three-year strategic plan to modernise regulatory frameworks.

During 2014/15, alongside its core responsibilities, the LSB has made clear in its business plan that it will continue to tackle burdensome, disproportionate and growth-restricting regulation. It believes particular emphasis on this is necessary in order to speed up the pace of change and deliver the benefits to businesses and consumers alike. Its latest business plan represents the final year of its three-year strategic plan.

What are the main focus areas of the LSB’s business plan?

The plan is broadly a consolidation or continuation of activity the LSB has been engaged in for several years now – it is the plan for the final year of a three year strategy. It sets out how they will continue to deliver under the three broad headings they have used for the past two years. The three strands are labelled as:

• regulator performance and oversight;

• strategy development and research;

• statutory decision making.

These strands sit within their overall strategic priorities for 2012-15, previously published.

Under the first strand, they will require front line regulators to report on progress in adopting the Regulatory Standards Framework the LSB introduced in 2012. Regulators are being told to make an interim self-assessment against the standards framework, prior to a full assessment taking place in 2015/16.

The LSB also proposes to undertake some “thematic reviews”, looking especially at what they see as over-restrictive regulation as identified in the Blueprint for Regulatory Reform they issued last year in response to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) call for evidence on the regulatory architecture for legal services. Specifically, the Legal Services Act 2007, s 15 and Sch 13 (LSA 2007) will be reviewed. They intend to look at entity and alternative business structures (ABS) regulation and in particular consider how to make the test for ABS ownership “more targeted and proportionate”. They are also targeting the SRA’s separate business rule in this context. All this work purports further to liberalise the legal services market which has been the LSB’s main dri

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