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Some of the points raised in this article are good ones and need addressing. Regarding just the issue about de-regulation, yes, having a 'choice' (as mentioned by Mr Sharma below) is a significant point. The SRA's proposals for radical changes to the ‘‘solicitor rulebook (the SRA Handbook)’’ - is DEFINITELY welcome news for someone like myself who has worked on the High Street and seen how it has practically suffocated many High Street firms and consumed valuable time which could have been diverted to managing innovation, risk and related things. Trust in the profession is seemingly not at risk at all from where I am standing. Regulation definitely needs to be ‘proportionate and targeted’. It’s out of control at the moment and not an inexpensive endeavour either. What worries me is not the ‘slashing of the rule book’ – that it definitely must be. More so, what exactly is meant by ‘targeted’? – does the latter mean it will give an open-door ticket to the Regulator (akin to what the Police had back in the ‘Stephen Lawrence era’ to stop and search anyone who was of a particular race or ethnic group on the basis that it was all ‘justified’ - of course to protect the public and for the prevention of potential/actual crime. Of course such a scenario could never happen - it would be an inconceivable outcome, but nevertheless worth mentioning here, in passing). Or does it mean we will have a sensible, manageable era of regulation which is tailored to a tier kind of system - (for example) different approach to regulation depending on the size of a firm or the type of work undertaken? or even the social positioning of the firm? etcetera. I guess I will have to read the consultation paper responses to understand what 'targeted' means.
A large majority of clients are smart – they are living in an era where information about their rights is widely available and even more widely ‘consumed’. Gone are the days where consumers had little choice or indeed very little knowledge about what kind of service to expect from their Solicitor, Plumber, Dentist, Doctor and even their Builders. Yes - we have vulnerable members of the public where protection is needed, but the legal landscape has changed dramatically and so has the legal acumen of the average ‘consumer’ of legal services, (who mostly get their information from the world wide web – before they even make a decision to contact a Solicitor). The ‘Handbook’ governing Solicitors – used to be called the Solicitors Guide to Professional Conduct (or something like that)– for the last couple of years it is called the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Handbook. Therein lies a fundamental problem in itself. Ownership of the ‘Rules’ has been taken away from the Solicitor and passed to the SRA – just in the mere title of that Handbook.

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