BSB approach to new legal structures

The Chair of the Bar Standards Board , Baroness Ruth Deech, talks of the need to take a scrupulous approach when considering barristers’ involvement in new legal structures. The Legal Services Act 2007 allows for different types of lawyer and non-lawyer to form businesses together. It also permits non-lawyers to be involved in the management or ownership of businesses that provide legal services.
Although the Bar Standards Board is keen to embrace these new dimensions, it believes this should be preceded by careful analysis of the issues raised in the responses to its second consultation paper related to the Legal Services Act.

Commenting on the issue, Baroness Deech said: "At the heart of the BSB lies the task of guaranteeing the quality of legal services to the client. Our work on new legal structures has been dominated by ensuring that whatever new forms legal practice may take, the client will still get independent quality advice at fair cost. The BSB has been spending much time closely analysing the responses received to its second consultation related to the Legal Services Act.

As could have been predicted, there have been many diverse views expressed in relation to what is a once in a generation set of changes for the profession. The Board does not take these views lightly. Since the closure of the consultation, it has sought legal advice on some of the
points of law raised. To ensure regulation in the interests of the client and the rule of law it is also commissioning limited research, modelling the likely outcomes of its proposed reforms on the profession, on the provision of legal services and, most importantly, on the consumer’s ability readily to obtain affordable access to justice. It is anticipated that the results of this work will enable the Board to make its final decisions on reform in October".