Ministry of Justice officials have met frontline legal services regulators for discussions on the future of the profession, the lord chancellor has revealed.
Michael Gove pledged in June to conduct a review of the Legal Services Act within the current parliament. He said then that the act, which set up the current legal services regulatory system, creates a ‘danger of regulators falling over each other’s feet’.
The date for the review remains unknown, but Gove has confirmed that civil servants have begun the ground work through talks with the SRA, BSB and other interested groups.
In a letter to House of Commons justice committee chair Bob Neill MP, Gove said he is considering when the review should begin and what it should cover, in the context of next week’s spending review.
Gove also revealed that he is considering consulting on deregulatory amendments to the 2007 act ‘in the near future’ and before the review. This follows joint letters from the oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, and other frontline regulators, sent to the government in July.
The regulators are believed to have asked why alternative business structures are assumed to present a greater risk and therefore face a greater burden of regulation. They also suggest that reforms could be made to rules around handling client money.
In his letter, Gove encourages Neill to wait to make its assessment of the Legal Services Act until the review is underway.