The head of the Solicitors Regulation Authority has called for caution amidst demands for wholesale reform of the regulatory regime.
Justice secretary Michael Gove pledged earlier this month to review the Legal Services Act 2007 within this parliament, suggesting there is currently a ‘danger of regulators falling over one another’s feet’.
This theme was picked up yesterday by the chairman of the oversight regulator the Legal Services Board, Sir Michael Pitt, who claimed to see a ‘compelling case’ for reform of the legislation in the medium-term. His comment came after a report was published by the LSB based on cross-regulator discussions on the future of the sector.
But the SRA today appeared to distance itself from the conclusions of the report and stressed that radical change is not necessary.
Paul Philip (pictured), SRA chief executive, said: ‘The opportunity for joint discussion on the regulatory landscape is important and, as the LSB makes clear, this report does not represent collective or individual views.
‘Our consistent view is that there is much more that can be achieved in the current legislative framework.’
Philip said the priority for regulators should be supporting growth and reducing bureaucracy rather than seeking to change the regulatory regime.
‘At a time when growth and innovation are critical, our focus is on what we can do now to free up firms to do business, while protecting the public.’
The LSB paper raised a number of issues that have not been resolved by the Legal Services Act, most notably the fixed list of six reserved activities and the links between representative bodies and regulators.
While it said there is no urgent need for fresh legislation, the paper did suggest that ongoing issues are holding back the pace of reform and making the work of regulators more difficult than is necessary.