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LSB confirms 2010 regulatory framework

11 December 2009

The Legal Services Board has published its final rules on the new regulatory framework applicable to the legal sector from January 2010.

Following its September proposals, the LSB has confirmed the requirement for a lay majority for the boards of all regulators in the legal sector.

The move had been resisted by the Law Society which secured a compromise allowing the chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority to be a lawyer.

The new rules also clarify the issues of shared services – including IT, human resources and accommodation – between the Law Society and the SRA.

Currently, the SRA’s budget is agreed between the regulator and the Law Society. The LSB has not objected to this approach but has made clear that this should not interfere with the principle of separation.

The new rules will come into force on 1 January 2010, with regulators given four months to identify areas of non-compliance and operate under a “self certification” regime. Frontline regulators will have a further six months to comply fully.

LSB chair David Edmonds said the new rules were “a proportionate response to the risks that were identified as far back as the Clementi review”.

“The new framework will provide the underpinning for consumer and public confidence in the independent regulation of lawyers – something that is crucial both for the commercial wellbeing of practitioners and the wider public interest,” he said.

Edmonds called approved regulators to turn from issues of constitution and governance to implementation, and to “quickly move on to the actual business of regulation now that these important foundations are in place”.

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