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The Legal Services Board is the new, independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales. It is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. Its set-up and ongoing costs are met entirely by a levy on practitioners on the legal sector, so the body is both politically and financially independent from Government.


LSB Priorities

The Board's statutory mandate is to ensure that regulation in the legal services sector is carried out in the public interest; and that the interests of the consumers of legal services are put at the heart of the system.

The Board became fully active on 1 January 2010, when the new regulatory regime was activated by statute.

The initial year the Board's operation has been spent building internal capacity, establishing regulatory processes and streamlining work into projects. The programme of work outlined by the LSB's draft second year business plan contains the following priorities:

  • Assuring the public about the rigour and independence of legal regulation;
  • Giving consumers more choice and lawyers new business opportunities by opening up the market and increasing competition to allow new types of legal business to emerge;
  • Better consumer redress when things go wrong through improvements to lawyers’ own processes for resolving complaints and the new Legal Ombudsman to ensure fair, effective and rapid dispute resolution for everybody concerned.

Statutory basis

The Board was created by the Legal Services Act 2007[1] and sits at the apex of the new regulatory regime for legal services. It has a duty to promote the regulatory objectives defined under that Act:[2][3]

  • Protecting and promoting the public interest;
  • Supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law;
  • Improving access to justice;
  • Protecting and promoting the interests of consumers of legal services;
  • Promoting competition in the provision of legal services;
  • Encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession;
  • Increasing public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties;
  • Promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles;

The professional principles are:[3]

  • Authorised persons should act with independence and integrity;
  • Authorised persons should maintain proper standards of work;
  • Authorised persons should act in the best interests of their clients;
  • Persons who exercise before any court a right of audience, or conduct litigation in relation to proceedings in any court, by virtue of being authorised persons should comply with their duty to the court to act with independence in the interests of justice, and
  • Affairs of clients should be kept confidential.

Supervision of regulators

The LSB provides cross-sector oversight regulation of the eight separate bodies named as approved regulators in the Legal Services Act 2007. These bodies directly regulate the circa 120,000 lawyers practising in England and Wales. These include:

For Solicitors:

  • Law Society
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (independent regulatory body of the Law Society)
  • Legal Complaints Service (independent complaints handling body for the Law Society)

For Barristers:

  • Bar Council
  • Bar Standards Board (independent regulatory arm of the Bar Council)

For Legal Executives

For Licensed Conveyancers

Patent and Trademark Attorneys

For Law Costs Draftsmen

For Notaries

  • Master of the Faculties

The Board will have the power to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that he approve further approved regulators[4]. This means that new bodies can apply to the LSB to become frontline regulators of parts of the legal profession. Once the Act comes fully into force and the Board is operational, all changes to these bodies' internal professional regulatory arrangements must be approved by the Board.[3][5]

Approved regulators also have a duty to promote the regulatory objectives.[6] If they fail to do so, or if they fail to comply with the 2007 Act, the Legal Services Board can:[3]

  • Issue directions to the regulator to correct the deficiency;[7]
  • Publish a public censure;[8]
  • Impose a financial penalty;[9]
  • Make an intervention direction whereby the regulatory function is performed by a person nominated by the Board;[10]
  • Recommend that the Lord Chancellor cancel the regulator's approval.[11]

The Board has a duty to regulate practising fees,[12] resolve regulatory conflicts,[13] and work with the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission and the Lord Chancellor on competition issues.[3][14]


Members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. David Edmonds was appointed the first chair of the Board on 23 April 2008 and nine members took up post on 1 September 2008.[15][16]

Members of the Board include:

  • David Edmonds (Chair)
  • Terence Connor (Member)
  • Stephen Green (Member)
  • Rosemary Martin (Member)
  • Bill Moyes (Member)
  • Barbara Saunders OBE (Member)
  • Nicole Smith (Member)
  • Andrew Whittaker (Member)
  • David Wolfe (Member)
  • Chris Kenny (Chief Executive)

Consumer Panel

On 11 November 2009 the LSB launched a Consumer Panel. The Panel operates independently of the LSB and represents the interests of both individual and business consumers in the LSB’s work to oversee the regulation of lawyers. The establishment of the Panel is a statutory requirement of the Legal Services Act 2007. Members of the Panel were appointed by the LSB with the approval of the Lord Chancellor. The Panel’s inaugural Chair, Dr Dianne Hayter, was announced in July 2009 and is the former Vice-Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel.

The Panel will examine issues of importance to legal services consumers and will advise the LSB in its work overseeing the frontline regulators. The Panel has powers to publish its advice. Should the LSB fail to agree with such advice, it will be required to publish a written statement of its reasons.


  1. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.2-7/ Sch.1
  2. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, s.1
  3. ^ a b c d e "Explanatory Notes to Legal Services Act 2007". Office of Public Sector Information. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-03.  
  4. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, s.20/ Sch.2, Pt.2
  5. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, s.20/ Sch.3, Pt.3
  6. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, s.28)
  7. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.32-34/ Sch.7
  8. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.35-36
  9. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.37-40
  10. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.41-44
  11. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.45-48
  12. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, s.51
  13. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.52-54
  14. ^ Legal Services Act 2007, ss.57-61
  15. ^ "Jack Straw appoints first chair of Legal Services Board". Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2008-04-27.  
  16. ^ "Jack Straw appoints new Legal Services Board". Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  


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