LSB Launch Legal Professional Competency Consultation

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has launched a call for evidence to examine how regulators should ensure the law firms and the legal service providers they regulate remain competent and up to date with changes to the legal sector.

The LSB is looking for respondents to consider four main themes when making their comments.

Firstly, they want respondents to consider how they would define a competent legal professional and what competence assurance should look like within a law firm.

The LSB are asking respondents to consider consumer expectations of competence, what competence assurance should look like in the legal sector and how competence assurance is perceived in other sectors.

The LSB are concerned that unlike education and healthcare, the legal service sector does not have a formal assessment measure to review ongoing competence of those in the sector.

Furthermore, recent regulatory changes to the SRA’s standards and regulations has also loosened the demand for legal service professionals to document their continual professional development (CPD).

Matthew Hill, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board, said:

“Public confidence is the lifeblood of professional services, and the legal sector is no different. People need to know that the professionals they hire have the right and current skills and knowledge to provide services they can trust.

“We know that consumers assume legal professionals are required to demonstrate competence throughout their careers. In reality, once qualified, there are few formal checks on competence.

“We want to understand and build consensus around what works well in supporting legal professionals to demonstrate competence throughout their careers and explore whether existing frameworks meet public expectations and protect people from harm.

“Ensuring legal professionals remain competent throughout their careers will help increase trust in legal services and improve access to justice. We look forward to hearing from the wide range of people with an interest in this subject, including regulators, providers and representative bodies, within and beyond the legal services sector.’

Should legal service providers have a formal competence measure?

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