A second nation-wide lockdown is now less than 48 hours away. Many of our fellow citizens will as a consequence face unexpected and unwelcome legal issues, and I suspect many of their needs will be met through pro bono provision.
I was therefore honoured and delighted to offer some opening thoughts this morning to a very important and timely seminar hosted by LawWorks and the University of Bristol as part of Pro Bono Week. I was invited to share my reflections on the two-year Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation that I concluded in June and the associated landscape of legal professional ethics. Here are those reflections (also available as a PDF).
This post is the text of the opening keynote address delivered to the Westminster Legal Policy Forum on the future of legal services in England & Wales (held online on 15 September 2020). A PDF of the address is also available for download here.
Every time I looked at the draft of the final report, I would change something or elaborate on aspects of it. It wasn’t that I had changed my mind, but that I was always trying to make my meaning and intention as clear as possible. With the report having been submitted to the Lord Chancellor and published, I am therefore content for now that the report should speak for itself – subject to one caveat that I shall return to later.
After two years, my final report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation has been published. It is available for download from this site and from UCL.
In 2016, the Competition & Markets Authority completed its market study and concluded that the legal services sector is not working well for individual consumers and small businesses, and that the current regulatory framework under the Legal Services Act 2007 is not sustainable in the long run. One of its recommendations was that the government should undertake a review of the current regulatory framework.
In light of Brexit, the Ministry understandably did not feel able at the time to commit to a formal review. In July 2018, I therefore volunteered to undertake the Independent Review on a pro bono basis under the auspices of the Centre for Ethics & Law, in the Faculty of Laws at University College London.