Strategy and business plan of the Commission des services juridiques 2022-2023 – Law Society’s response

In addition to the new areas of work, the LSB will continue its work on:

  • fulfill its legal obligations, including monitoring the performance of regulators and supervising the OLC and SDT
  • implement the recommendations of the Competition and Market Authority’s report on legal services through its consumer empowerment project
  • finalize the policy statement on continuing competence following public consultation and ensure regulators have effective frameworks in place to monitor and ensure the continuing competence of professions throughout their careers
  • finalize a review of its regulatory performance framework
  • continue the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) project to support a profession that reflects the wider society and can meet the different needs of consumers, including identifying the impact of counter-inclusive behaviors in the legal sector on the D&I within the legal profession, and examining its expectations of regulators
  • continue the technology and innovation project, working closely with regulators to explore the development of a central regulatory database, including identifying options through a “proof of concept”

As part of the consultation, the LSB is proposing a 4.6% (£189,000) increase in its budget for 2022/23 to £4.287m, compared to the current year’s budget.

The LSB is also seeking views on whether to conduct a review of reserved activities.

Given the LSB’s current work commitments, including the proposed work on PII, the LSB believes this is not the appropriate time for a statutory review.

Our point of view

We welcome the LSB’s business plan and are pleased to see continued work on D&I and technology and innovation, policy areas that align with our priorities.

We look forward to continuing to work with the LSB in these areas, providing insight into the views and experiences of our members.

We encourage the LSB to ensure that our efforts are well coordinated, especially when it comes to new research.

We also support the LSB’s work on continuing competence and to build a better understanding of the unregulated market. We look forward to further opportunities to engage and provide feedback.

Continuing a collaborative approach will be essential as the LSB releases the initial results of these work streams and moves the work forward.

While we generally support the LSB’s proposals on the other work streams, we would like to see greater prioritization of work and resources on the LSB’s core function of carrying out its statutory functions, including monitoring controller performance and OLC and SDT supervision.

The LSB should particularly focus its work on:

  • address LeO performance deficiencies
  • increase monitoring and evaluation of OLC/LeO progress against deliverables work to ensure clients and the profession have confidence in the redress mechanism

Prioritization of work is also essential to ensure that the DSL is profitable and manages its budget effectively.

We are concerned about the DSL’s proposal for another budget increase at a time when many firms and practitioners are facing significant financial challenges.

Finally, although the overall economic health of the sector is good, the business plan should take into account the difficult economic conditions for small businesses, including street practices and sole practitioners.

These practices have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns and will be hardest hit by the cost of living crisis and mounting financial pressures including rising inflation.

It is essential that the LSB works closely with the SRA, other regulators and professional bodies to maximize efforts to help the most affected parts of the industry recover economically and to help the profession fulfill its advocacy role. access to justice and the rule of law, and facilitation of economic activity.

What this means for lawyers

How the LSB regulates, in its capacity as supervisory regulator, will have an impact on the profession and on the sector as a whole.

For the strategy to have the desired impact, the LSD will need to be aware of the perspectives and experience of the professions.

Next steps

The consultation ran from December 6, 2020 to February 4, 2021.

The LSB will consider responses to the consultation from all stakeholders before deciding how to proceed.

Read the consultation on the LSB website (PDF)