26 Jan Public support for independent regulation of solicitors
Take the opportunity to consolidate the regulatory maze, says the Law Society
Four in five people want solicitors to be regulated independently, new figures reveal.
In research commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), over 86 per cent of respondents said solicitors should be regulated – topping doctors (85 per cent), dentists (82 per cent), and accountants (81 per cent).
Seven in ten respondents said they would feel more comfortable making a complaint if the regulator was fully independent of solicitors. Meanwhile, three in four supported government proposals to make the profession’s regulator fully independent.
The survey follows plans by the treasury to consult on regulators becoming independent of representative bodies in a bid to boost competition in legal services.
Commenting on the findings, SRA chief executive Paul Philip said: ‘I am clear that separating out regulator and representative body would not only meet public expectations, but would enhance the important role of the Law Society in making sure the voice of solicitors is heard and respected.’
The Law Society also voiced its support for independent regulation, in the belief there is an opportunity to implement ‘better and simpler’ regulation that would apply to all legal services.
Chief executive Catherine Dixon commented: ‘Currently the regulatory maze is complex. There are numerous regulators of legal services and there is an opportunity to consolidate to save cost.
‘Paradoxically, the most qualified and trained are the most regulated; the least qualified and trained are not regulated. This is a mistake. There is an opportunity to redefine what regulation should cover to ensure that it is simple and better, and applies to all legal services.’