Imagine the scene. It’s back in ye olden days: Tony Blair is in Downing Street and Lord Falconer struts in lord chancellor’s robes.
A bright young policy wonk is enthusing about new legislative proposals. ‘By 2016,’ he declares over a bewildering deck of PowerPoint slides, ‘we’ll have facilitated the creation of the world’s most vibrant competitive market between legal regulators and created thousands of knowledge economy jobs in advertising and public relations’.
Actually, Obiter can’t remember if that was one intended outcome of the Legal Services Act, but it is surely coming to pass. First we had the Bar Standards Board pitching to solicitors to set up as ‘entities’ rather than boring old law firms, then we had the Solicitors Regulation Authority flashing a well-turned ankle at will-writers.
Now, with an Arthur Daley-esque flair for salesmanship, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers is upping its game. A ‘stakeholder perceptions’ report published last week maintains that the council is seen as being ‘trusted, approachable, forward looking, helpful, open, proactive and professional’.
The SRA, by contrast, is mentioned 14 times in the report – and not always approvingly. The watchdogs are turning on one another.