The Gazette has been known to raise an eyebrow at the laissez-faire proselytising of the Legal Services Board – that’s not what it is (or ought to be) there for. But this week the super-regulator has been effortlessly outflanked by justice secretary Chris Grayling (pictured), seemingly in defiance of all reason.
All the heavyweight initialisms lined up in support of regulating will-writing – LSB, TLS, SRA, ILEX and LSCP, in what amounted to a rare display of unanimity. There was a reason for that. Regulating will-writing is simple common sense. To borrow the language of the law, it was an open-and-shut case: the consumer watchdog found ‘defective wills on a shocking scale and evidence of bad sales practices’.
No matter. Libertarian dogma has prevailed, and perhaps, in light of other recent events, we should not be too surprised. Mr Grayling’s rebuff amounts to a shrug of the shoulders and a dismissive cry of ‘caveat emptor’ – or ‘caveat testator’ perhaps.
For the regulators, meanwhile, it is back to the drawing board. The SRA wants all legal services to be reserved, which has never appeared more unlikely. There will be those who wonder, too – yet again – why the LSB continues to drain the profession’s money, when its political master waves it away on an issue as important as this one.
What will he ‘deregulate’ next?