The Legal Services Board (LSB) released its 2022-2023 business plan on Wednesday, indicating that it will continue to focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) as well as technology and innovation in the profession. .
President of the Law Society of England and Wales, I. Stephanie Boyce noted:
“We welcome DSL’s continued focus on D&I, technology and innovation, which aligns with the Law Society’s priorities. We are also pleased to see that there is a focus on addressing the performance issues of the Legal Ombudsman (LeO).
We hope that the LSB’s plan to review its 2016 rules and guidelines on handling first-level complaints will help ensure that it supports good results and aligns with best practice.
Regarding Professional Civil Liability Insurance (PII) and compensation funds, we appreciate the interest of the LSB in this subject. PII is the largest regulatory expense for most of our members and we are committed to reducing its cost while maintaining high levels of protection for consumers of legal services. However, the Law Society believes that the promotion and protection of consumer interests should, at all times, be the guiding principle in all decisions regarding PII and the compensation fund. Working with our members to improve risk management should help manage PII costs. »
The LSB has a new project looking at rule of law and regulation. This will recognize the fundamental role that legal professionals play in society and define the role of the regulation of legal services in supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law. Boyce added:
“We agree with the LSB that legal services are essential to maintaining the rule of law, supporting the effective administration of justice and protecting democratic values. We would also like the LSB to explore how the role of regulation of legal services can support the rule of law, beyond establishing professional rules and ensuring that the system of complaints against legal professionals is robust. .
It could also examine possible strategies to support lawyers in their duties to their clients and before the courts, while their rule of law support work could help the legal profession when established legal procedures are under attack.
“Given the current uncertain political and economic climate, we welcome the flexible approach LSB is taking to deliver its business plan and resolve upcoming issues.
The overall economic health of the sector has been strong, but the war in Ukraine has impacted overall market sentiment. The lasting effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt by small businesses, including street practices and independent practitioners, who face tough economic conditions and who will struggle the most with the rising cost of living. and growing financial pressures.
We are keen to work closely with the LSB, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and others on the delivery of the business plan to help address some of the challenges facing the profession and the sector.