Restricting use of the term ‘lawyer’ is unnecessary and against the trend towards deregulation, according to the Bar Council.

Responding to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Legal Services Market Study Interim Report, the Bar Council said there is no need to formally restrict the use of the title ‘lawyer’.

It said the barrister and solicitor titles are ‘well-known and well-regarded by the public in England and Wales’, and are ‘internationally respected’, and that it is not aware of any evidence suggesting a consumer protection issue that needs addressing.

Restricting the title ‘lawyer’ would amount to ‘the creation of a new regulated title’, which the Bar Council considered ‘unnecessary’ and potentially ‘against the prevailing trend towards deregulation’.

It said: ‘It would add another layer of regulation and a commensurate cost, which may be passed on to the consumer.’

The Bar’s response said that while the titles of barrister and solicitor are ‘highly regarded’, the scope of ‘lawyer’ is ‘unclear and uncharted’. The additional title, it suggested, could cause ‘confusion and uncertainty’ for consumers.

It said the public and consumer interest would be better served by the provision of more information about the regulatory status of existing legal service providers.

The Law Society told the CMA that it was in the public interest for the use of the title ‘lawyer’ to be restricted to those who are ‘suitably qualified and regulated’.