The Legal Services Board has outlined plans to modernise regulation and create a consistent approach to ‘reserved’ activities.

In a discussion paper launched today, the LSB says the list of legal services that only a qualified lawyer can undertake, including conveyancing, litigation and advocacy, has grown haphazardly over centuries.

With the Legal Services Act coming into force from October, the board wants a new approach to the regulatory regime which puts a clearer focus on the public and consumer interest.

That means a review of reserved legal services which could extend the list to include activities such as will writing, employment law or general legal advice.

LSB chairman David Edmonds said: ‘Liberalisation is already happening with regard to the ownership of law firms, external investment and control. That liberalisation will accelerate as these proposals begin to take effect.

‘But it needs to be underpinned by the right consumer protections and oversight, in particular proper redress from firms and the Legal Ombudsman. Whichever direction we take, the objective is simple; the legal services market must work for the consumer and the public, for it is they to whom we all, regulators and professionals alike, are accountable.’