The Legal Services Board should be scrapped and frontline regulators including the Solicitors Regulation Authority left to ‘get on with their job’, the bar’s chairman-elect will say tonight.
Nicholas Lavender QC of Serle Court is to address the inaugural meeting of the 2014 Bar Council, at which he will allude to the challenges facing the bar in the coming year.
On the government’s review of legal regulation, Lavender will note that there have been three acts of parliament since 1990.
‘What is needed is to abolish the Legal Services Board as currently constituted. The Bar Standards Board, [SRA] and the other frontline regulators should be free to get on with their job in the public interest,’ Lavender will argue.
In an advance copy of his speech, Lavender also hits out at legal aid rates, including the VHCC rate cuts that came into effect last week. He believes they will drive ‘experienced and skilful’ advocates out of criminal work.
He will add: ‘Longer trials and more successful appeals will add to the cost, rather than achieving the intended savings… Our duty is to speak out against these changes.’
Lavender will also reflect on the Jeffrey review of the provision of criminal advocacy. In a comment which may be of concern to solicitor-advocates, he suggests: ‘I hope [Jeffrey] will propose measures which could lead to real improvements… This might include measures to ensure that an individual accused of a crime has an effective and informed choice of the advocate who is to represent them.’