Last month, Boston Consulting Group published a report that claimed to assess the effects of deregulating legal services in England & Wales, as driven by the Legal Services Act 2007. The analysis and conclusions are, to put it at its best, disappointing. I am grateful to have been spared the need to offer a detailed review, thanks to this informed critique of the report by Alison Hook.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that the report’s authors based some of their work on my independent review (Legal Services Reform: Regulation Beyond the Echo Chambers, published last year). However, having done so, their report could encourage others to take my principal conclusion – that further reform is needed – and, contrary to my intention, use it to amplify the echo within the chambers of my title.
Earlier this month, I was invited to give the Wickwire Memorial Lecture at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Canada. Frederick B. (Ted) Wickwire QC, a graduate of the School, was the President of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. He died in office at the age of 52 in 1991.
Ted Wickwire was noted for his commitment to public service and to uncompromising professionalism. Each year, a lecture is held in his memory, focusing on an aspect of professional ethics.
It was a great honour to deliver this year’s Lecture, albeit with the constraints of virtual presence. The full text of the Lecture is available for download here.
The Lecture presented an opportunity for me to reflect on some of the underlying themes of my independent review of legal services regulation in England & Wales. In particular, I explored the emerging and increasingly uncomfortable tension between regulation and professionalism.
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.