The Bar Council has suggested that the Legal Services Board is exceeding its remit, citing the super-regulator’s ‘surprising’ plans to reshape the justice sector.

‘Although we certainly want to be on good terms with the LSB, and applaud the good work they do, I think it’s important for us to ensure there’s a little bit of tension about whether or not they’re doing what they should be doing under the Legal Services Act,’ Derek Sweeting QC, chair of the Bar Council, told the Gazette in a wide-ranging interview (see News Focus).

‘I’m personally a bit surprised they are setting out 10-year plans involving explicitly the reform of the justice sector. It seems to me that’s not what the Legal Services Act requires them to do, and I think it’s just important that we should occasionally question whether they are performing the role that parliament intended them to perform.’

In December, the LSB set out a 10-year strategic direction for the legal sector, saying that its ambitious plan would require a bigger budget.

‘We do need to be watchful because there isn’t a regulator overlooking the overarching regulator,’ Sweeting said. ‘It’s perfectly appropriate for the profession, which are paying for them, to raise sensible questions about the workstreams that they are engaging in.’

The bar chair also cited the LSB’s ‘surprising’ consultation on the responsible use of technology. ‘There is no reason for LSB to do things that don’t necessarily need a regulatory response,’ he said.