LSB seeks to change the status quo on competence

Lawyer leaders today welcomed the Legal Services Board (LSB) consultation on ongoing skills and standards, as the oversight regulator seeks to change the way legal professionals maintain their high standards.

The LSB considered whether current approaches taken by regulators are effective in protecting consumers and the public interest.

The DSL consults on a set of high-level expectations for regulators, set out in a policy statement, which identify guiding principles and acceptable methods for encouraging good behavior to ensure continued competence.

President of the Law Society of England and Wales, I. Stephanie Boyce, said: “Continuing competence ensures lawyers do their work to the highest standards, delivering high quality legal services to consumers.

“It is important to us that the profession is able to demonstrate how it maintains and promotes high standards of competence, so we welcome the LSB’s focus on this.

“However, there is no evidence of widespread problems demonstrated by the LSB’s work to date. Although there is a problem with public perception, with a public panel survey showing that 95% believe checks should be made throughout a legal professional’s career.

“The role a lawyer plays in someone’s life cannot be underestimated. They are called upon for support and advice during important events – the death or injury of a loved one, a family breakdown or the purchase of a house.

“Regulators need to collect better information about competence to ensure standards are being met and look for ways to demonstrate this and communicate this to the public.

“We would also support some form of mandatory training in areas such as equality, diversity and inclusion and IT/technology – but the details should be determined by the individual, who is best placed to know what training he needs.

“Any changes implemented by regulators as a result of the LSB policy statement must be a risk- and evidence-based decision, balancing the impact on the profession.

“Helping the profession better engage in reflective practice, sharing information and highlighting examples of good practice would help maintain standards, as would drawing the profession’s attention to key risks and areas of competence through better communication.

“While we understand that changes are needed, some of the measures outlined in the consultation – reaccreditation, revalidation, competency assessments, observations and reviews – would likely be costly and time consuming and unnecessary for the profession as a whole.

“However, some additional accreditations or measures would be helpful in high-risk areas, which are determined by regulators using an evidence- and risk-based approach.

“The LSB policy statement is expected to be released this summer. We will communicate the outcome of this and any impact it may have on our members. »

Notes to Editors

Read our full response to LSB’s Continuing Skills consultation

Learn more about the LSB’s ongoing competence project

Read the LSB Ongoing Skills Consultation Paper

Learn more about maintaining competence

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body working globally to support and represent lawyers, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contacts: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928