The Legal Services Board has recently been consulting on the independence of approved regulators and whether to push further on the need for independence. Their preference would be for a change of rules to require that the chair of a regulatory board should be a lay person (in the same way that the Legal Services Act requires that the chair of the LSB must be a lay person).
I have broadly welcomed the policy of the Legal Services Act’s reforms of the regulation of legal services, and largely supported the LSB in its implementation of those reforms. That is one reason why I have been surprised by the strength of my fundamental opposition to the LSB’s preference for this rule-change.
Make no mistake: I am not arguing against independent regulation or even a perception of independence. Indeed, in my recent response (para 4.3.2) to the Ministry of Justice review of the regulatory framework of legal services, I argued for greater separation of the representative and regulatory functions than we have so far achieved.