Chair Sir Michael Pitt responds to yesterday’s Comment piece by Jonathan Goldsmith on the role of the board in liberalising the market for legal services.

The comment piece by Jonathan Goldsmith (‘Should the LSB chair resign?’) suggests a worrying misunderstanding of the Legal Services Act (LSA) and the defined statutory role of the Legal Services Board.

For very good reasons, the LSB warmly welcomes the two recently announced studies into the legal sector. The consultation announced by Treasury will address the subject of regulatory independence. For many years, the LSB has lobbied government to review the LSA and advocated a complete separation of the regulators from any representative body. Of course, this requires new legislation and is a matter for government.

The second announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority also refers to ‘the complexity of the current regulatory framework’. The CMA (not the LSB) has the necessary wide-ranging statutory powers and resources needed to conduct a full market study of this type and to take follow-up action.

I expect the outcomes from these two reviews to have significant consequences for lawyers, consumers and the public. Inevitably, there will be differences of opinion and, to aid sensible debate, it will help if comments and analysis are responsible, accurate and focused on the issues.

Sir Michael Pitt, chair of the Legal Services Board