UK to reform regulation of legal profession

[JURIST] Britain's Constitutional Affairs Secretary and Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer [official profile] Monday unveiled a British government plan to strip the legal profession of its right to regulate itself, saying that the current system for handling complaints lacks transparency and gives the impression of self-interest. Falconer's proposals follow public consultations held by the UK Department for Constitutional Affairs [official website] in response to concerns that many of the legal professions' rules are unduly restrictive. Responding to public feelings of low confidence in a legal profession that is self-regulated with poor enforcement of rules, Falconer proposed the creation of a Legal Service Board [text of Falconer's speech] that will oversee the legal services sector and will set standards for the profession and check that they are met. The Board, which will have a lay chair and a lay majority, will be appointed based on merit by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. Falconer also proposed reforms to the ownership of legal practices that would allow lawyers to create partnerships with non-legal professionals and would also permit external investment in law firms. The Times has more.

 

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