Lord Chancellor David Lidington has urged the next chair of the oversight regulator to help create a more ‘diverse and innovative’ legal profession.
In a message forming part of the job advertisement for the Legal Services Board chair, Lidington said the sector has already undergone ‘positive change’, with the market growing, greater availability of fixed fees and most measures showing improvements in quality.
The lay chair, who receives a non-pensionable salary of £63,000 a year for a minimum of 70 days’ work, will be expected to drive the sector to attract new providers and offer new opportunities for the current and future legal profession.
‘Underpinning that we need a modern, regulatory framework which is effective, proportionate and flexible and in which the consumer and profession have confidence,’ he says.
Lidington outlines the LSB chair will develop its strategy and statutory remit, holding regulators to account and making sure that regulation underpins the reputation of England and Wales’ legal sector at home and abroad.
He talks also of a tailored review of legal services regulation, adding: ‘This will not be easy, you will face challenge and will need to demonstrate your leadership skills as well as the ability to engage and work constructively with interested parties.’
Ultimately, the chair will be responsible for helping to create a regulatory framework that is ‘fit for the 21st century’.
The statement suggests Lidington may be minded to look again at amendments or additions to the Legal Services Act 2007, which underpins the current regulatory set-up. Previous lord chancellor Michael Gove was keen to review regulations in a similar way, but his successor Liz Truss showed little appetite for addressing this issue.
The new LSB chair, who replaces Sir Michael Pitt, will need to show evidence of strong leadership in a high-profile organisation, with understanding of economics and/or senior management, and with financial, public policy or communications experience all an advantage for any aspiring candidate.
Essential criteria also include an understanding of legal services regulation, understanding of the operations of the legal services industry and a commitment to the constitutional position of the rule of law, although they cannot be a lawyer.
The appointment will be made by the lord chancellor and lord chief justice, for a tenure of four years with the possibility of re-appointment.