Ongoing competence: the LSB’s mission impossible?

Since January 2020, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has been on a mission: to require front-line regulators to assure themselves of the competence of their regulated practitioners throughout their careers.  It issued a call for evidence, commissioned reports, and consulted* on its proposals.  The process has now resulted in a new statutory statement of policy intended to ensure that regulators “have appropriate frameworks for continuing assurance of professional competence throughout the careers of the people they regulate”.  Consequently, “consumers should be able to trust that legal professionals have the necessary skills, knowledge and attributes to provide good quality legal services and that they are kept up to date and relevant over time”.

It is impossible to argue against the good intentions here.  But, regrettably, the mission is impossible; both the consequential cost and burden of it to the regulated community (and ultimately to consumers) are disproportionate; the evidence does not support it; and, for me, it is therefore an unwelcome example of inappropriate regulation.

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Regulation: from infection to inflection point

Here is a fascinating podcast: a conversation between Jordan Furlong (guest) and Professor Mike Madison of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (host) on the future of law, re-regulation, access to justice, and the rule of law. Over many years, Jordan has perfected the gift of identifying nails in the legal services sector and then hitting each of them firmly on the head. This episode has a good number of those nails. In this post, I pick up on some of the themes it explores.

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