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Super-regulator in call for evidence around ongoing competence of lawyers

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has launched a call for evidence on how legal regulators ensure the professionals they regulate remain competent throughout their careers.

The LSB said it wanted to hear from people and organisations both within and beyond the legal services sector with any relevant information on existing competence assurance practices and whether these practices protect the public and promote consumer interests.

The insights will help guide the LSB’s thinking on whether a different approach is needed, it added.

The call for evidence opens on 21 January 2020. It will run for 16 weeks and closes on 15 May 2020.

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The LSB is asking respondents to consider four themes:

  • Defining competence and competence assurance
  • Consumer expectations of competence
  • Competence assurance in the legal services sector
  • Competence assurance in other sectors

Chief Executive Matthew Hill 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.”

Hill added: “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.”

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