The Legal Services Board (LSB) has today published its revised internal governance rules (IGR) and new accompanying statutory guidance, setting out the requirements for the approved regulators of legal services to ensure the separation of regulatory and representative functions.

The LSB has amended the IGR to enhance regulatory independence within the framework provided by the Legal Services Act 2007. The new IGR provide more clarity which should lead to fewer independence-related disputes and are more readily enforceable for speedier resolution of issues.

The revised IGR and guidance come into effect immediately. Approved regulators and regulatory bodies will have a maximum 12 month transition period in which to comply with the new rules.

Publication of the new rules, alongside the decision document and stakeholder responses to the LSB’s most recent consultations on the IGR, marks the conclusion of the LSB’s review of the existing rules, which were last updated in 2014.

Commenting on the new rules, the LSB’s Chief Executive, Neil Buckley, said:

“The LSB is grateful for the constructive feedback from approved regulators, regulatory bodies and other respondents throughout the process of reviewing the IGR. We have listened closely to feedback in responses to consultation and carefully considered what actions to take.

Independent regulation gives confidence to consumers, providers, investors, and society as a whole that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. Regulatory independence also gives the providers of legal services the certainty they need to grow and innovate. The final IGR reflects our commitment to setting a new framework which delivers the highest level of regulatory independence within the current legislative framework.”

Footnotes:

  • The new IGR and accompanying statutory guidance are available online here.
  • The LSB oversees ten approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, include the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.

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