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UCL Centre for Ethics & Law to undertake regulatory framework review

4 July 2018

The review will explore issues and recommendations posed in the 2016 legal services market study by the Competition and Markets Authority

UCL Centre for Ethics and Law

The Centre for Ethics & Law in the UCL Faculty of Laws is undertaking a fundamental review of the current regulatory framework for legal services, led by Honorary Professor Stephen Mayson. The independent review is intended in part to explore the longer-term and related issues raised by the 2016 Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) 'Legal services market study' and its recommendations.

The principal conclusion from the 2016 market study was that the legal services sector is not working well for individual consumers and small businesses, and that the current regulatory framework is unsustainable in the long run and that “the majority of issues cannot be addressed by tweaking the current framework but would be better addressed through legislative and/or structural changes”.

The review will therefore aim to assist government in its reflection and assessment of the current regulatory framework, with the objective of maintaining the UK's competitive postition as a global leader for legal services and dispute resolution.  The review will consider: regulatory objectives; the scope of regulation and reserved legal activities; regulatory structure, governance and the independence of legal services providers from both government and representative interests; the focus of regulation on one or more of activities, providers, entities or professions; and the extent to which the legitimate interests of government, judges, consumers, professions, and providers should or might be incorporated into the regulatory framework.

The review will also seek to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Competition & Markets Authority, the Legal Services Board, approved regulators, front-line regulators, representative bodies, consumers, the judiciary, practitioners, and providers of legal education and training.

“We are delighted that Professor Mayson and UCL are launching this independent review of legal services regulation. It is important that the regulatory framework is as effective as it can be, given the vital role that legal services play in our society,” said Neil Buckley, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board, the independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales.

The UK is considered a world-leading jurisdiction for the governing law of international transactions and for dispute resolution. Following its completion, Prof Mayson will present the review's conclusions and recommendations to the Ministry of Justice.

UCL's Centre for Ethics and Law, established in 2009, promotes and enhances collaboration between corporates, practitioners, civil servants, academics and others around the broad themes of professional ethics and the ethics of risk, and facilitates interdisciplinary research in these areas.

Read the Terms of Reference Read coverage in The Times Legal Review  

Read coverage in Legal Futures