Super-regulator The Legal Services Board has hit back at the International Bar Association for citing it as an example of creeping government control of the legal profession.
In a hard-hitting draft report published at its annual conference last week, the International Bar Association’s presidential task force on the independence of the legal profession, said the super-regulator, set up under the Legal Services Act, was an example of ‘external involvement in the regulatory scheme’.
It added: ‘Where there is some executive control over the regulatory process the risk of infringements on lawyers’ professional independence is greater.’
The LSB called for the statement to be removed from the report.
In a letter to the association’s president David W Rivkin, the LSB’s chief executive Neil Buckley (pictured) says the references to the board are ‘inaccurate’, specifically the implication that it is controlled by the government.
Buckley states: ‘No decision made by the LSB and its executive has ever been at the “control”, behest of or subject to any improper influence whatsoever by the government.’
While members may be appointed by the lord chancellor, the process is subject to 'rigorous independent scrutiny', the board insists. ‘Moreover, the members of the LSB once appointed take their decisions without fear or favour from government.’