[JURIST] The British government on Monday proposed allowing non-lawyers to partner with lawyers to run combined firms and the creation of an independent body to handle complaints against legal professionals. The proposed reforms to the legal profession in England and Wales were outlined by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) [official website] in a white paper, The Future of Legal Services: Putting Consumers First [PDF text], and are the result of a study into the regulatory framework [JURIST report] for legal services launched by the DCA last year. Professional legal associations, such as the Law Society [group website] and the Bar Council [group website], currently handle complaints against legal professionals. In its response [press release], the Bar Council said that the white paper contains many positives, but feared the high cost of establishing the new regulatory bodies, which it claims the government will not assume. The Law Society also praised the government's efforts to enact reforms [press release], but stated that "it would be better for regulatory powers to be vested directly in the front line regulators such as the Law Society, the Bar Council and ILEX." The Telegraph has more. BBC News provides additional coverage.