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ABS countdown | Greater competition in legal services?

Are things so different now that we have had the 
Legal Services Act in full effect for a whole year, asks Stuart Bushell

30 November 2012

The perception of the legal profession is that the greatest immediate impact of the Legal Services Act has been the introduction of outcomes focused regulation. This is actually not down to the Act itself but due to the insistence of its creation – the Legal Services Board. The concept of regulation which points a direction and permits firms to decide how best to comply, having regard to their own individual circumstances, is alien to many, as is the need for compliance officers. However, despite shortcomings in other departments, this system has worked well for retail firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority over the past 11 years. Given time, it could work equally well for providers of legal services.

The key is to appreciate, that the pre-requisite to compliance is the installation of management systems and controls, and that the regulator looks to the firm’s management to ensure compliance and rega...

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