Legal Services Board
The Legal Services Board (LSB) is the independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales.
The LSB is both politically and financially independent of Government.
The LSB's statutory mandate is to ensure that regulation in the legal services sector is carried out in the public interest; and that the interests of the consumers of legal services are put at the heart of the legal system in England and Wales.
The LSB became fully active on 1 January 2010, when the new regulatory regime was activated by statute.
The LSB was created by the Legal Services Act 2007 and sits at the apex of the regulatory regime for legal services in England and Wales. It has a duty to promote eight regulatory objectives defined under that Act:
- protecting and promoting the public interest
- supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law
- improving access to justice
- protecting and promoting the interests of consumers of legal services
- promoting competition in the provision of legal services
- encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession
- increasing public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties
- promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles.
The professional principles are:
- authorised persons should act with independence and integrity
- authorised persons should maintain proper standards of work
- authorised persons should act in the best interests of their clients
- persons who exercise before any court a right of audience, or conduct litigation in relation to proceedings in any court, by virtue of being authorised persons should comply with their duty to the court to act with independence in the interests of justice, and
- affairs of clients should be kept confidential.
Supervision of regulators
The LSB provides oversight regulation of the eight approved regulators named in the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA 2007).
These bodies directly regulate the 166,853 lawyers practising in England and Wales as of 1 April 2014 which breaks down to 138,243 solicitors, 15,279 barristers, 7,927 chartered legal executives and 5,404 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing.
These approved regulators are:
- for Solicitors:
- for Barristers:
- for Legal Executives:
- for Licensed Conveyancers:
- for Patent and Trademark Attorneys:
- for Costs Lawyers:
- for Notaries:
- for Chartered Accountants
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (Probate Committee)
The LSB has the power to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that he approve further approved regulators. This means that new bodies can apply to the LSB to become frontline regulators of parts of the legal profession. As a result of the LSA 2007 coming into force all changes to these bodies' internal professional regulatory arrangements must be approved by the LSB.
Approved regulators also have a duty to promote the regulatory objectives.
If they fail to do so, or if they fail to comply with the 2007 Act, the LSB can:
- issue directions to the regulator to correct the deficiency
- publish a public censure
- impose a financial penalty
- make an intervention direction whereby the regulatory function is performed by a person nominated by the Board
- recommend that the Lord Chancellor cancel the regulator's approval.
The LSB has a duty to regulate practising fees, resolve regulatory conflicts, and work with the Office of Fair Trading (subsequently the Competition and Markets Authority) and the Lord Chancellor on competition issues.
Members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The first Chair of the LSB David Edmonds stood down on 30 April 2014 following two terms in the post. He was succeeded as the new Chair by Sir Michael Pitt on 1 May 2014. The Board has nine current members. They are:
- Sir Michael Pitt (Chairman)
- Terry Babb
- Bill Moyes
- Edward Nally
- Anneliese Day QC
- David Eveleigh
- Marina Gibbs
- Chris Kenny (LSB Chief Executive)
Past members have included:
- David Edmonds
- Stephen Green
- Barbara Saunders OBE
- Nicole Smith
- Andrew Whittaker
- David Wolfe QC
- Mike Napier CBE QC LLD
On 11 November 2009, the LSB launched the Legal Services Consumer Panel. The Panel operates independently of the LSB and represents the interests of both individual and business consumers in the LSB’s work to oversee the regulation of lawyers. The establishment of the Panel was a statutory requirement of the Legal Services Act 2007.
Members of the Panel are appointed by the LSB with the approval of the Lord Chancellor. The Panel’s inaugural Chair, Dr Dianne Hayter, was appointed in 2009. She stood down due to ongoing commitments in the House of Lords. She was succeeded in August 2011 by the current chair, Elizabeth Davies who is currently a Director at Arthritis Care.
The Panel examines issues of importance to legal services consumers and advises the LSB in its work overseeing the frontline regulators. The Panel publishes this advice. Should the LSB fail to agree with such advice, it is required to publish a written statement outlining its reasons.
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.2-7/ Sch.1
- Legal Services Act 2007, s.1
- "Explanatory Notes to Legal Services Act 2007". Office of Public Sector Information. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- Legal Services Act 2007, s.20/ Sch.2, Pt.2
- Legal Services Act 2007, s.20/ Sch.3, Pt.3
- Legal Services Act 2007, s.28)
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.32-34/ Sch.7
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.35-36
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.37-40
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.41-44
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.45-48
- Legal Services Act 2007, s.51
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.52-54
- Legal Services Act 2007, ss.57-61