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LSB to investigate cost of all regulators

Umbrella regulator seeks partners to help fund research

12 December 2012

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The Legal Services Board has announced that it plans to investigate the cost of all legal regulators, including itself and the Law Society.

In their foreword to the LSB’s draft business plan for 2013/14, published today, chairman David Edmonds and chief executive Chris Kenny said the umbrella regulator had “worked hard to drive down our costs”.

They said the LSB would cut its budget by £50,000 in 2013/14, though the actual saving would be greater when pay rises were taken into account.

“But we know that our costs represent but a fraction of the total that practitioners face simply in order to be able to practise,” Edmonds and Kenny said.

“Wider costs include practising certificate fees (including elements for non-regulatory ‘permitted purposes’), insurance and compensation, and compliance costs, all of which are ultimately passed on to purchasers, both public and private.

“We understand why there are worries that the current regulatory framework for legal services might impose unnecessary costs on firms and practitioners. We share the concerns that such costs are inevitably transferred to those who pay for services.

“This seems to us an area where the LSB, uniquely, will be able to draw together work into the totality of regulatory costs, not simply the direct costs of statutory levies and practising certificate fees, and to start to unpick how far the underlying legislative framework for regulation, the actions and requirements of regulators themselves and unnecessary caution by providers in interpreting these requirements contribute to that.”

Edmonds and Kenny admitted that although the LSB’s research was one of their “proudest achievements”, their cost reduction strategy meant that partners were needed to fund the 2013/14 research programme.

“The greater degree of external funding we are able to secure, the more value we will be able to deliver from our research budget and indeed, there may be scope for reduction. We will publish a final research plan in April 2013 informed by responses to this consultation.”

The consultation on the draft business plan closes on 4 March 2013.

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