In its Draft Business Plan 2009/10, the LSB sets out how it intends to deliver the changes required by the Legal Services Act 2007.
Goals include more help for those whose incomes exceed legal aid thresholds but are unable to afford legal services; greater competition in service delivery; “swift and effective redress” for consumers if things go wrong; greater diversity in the professions; and certainty and confidence in the regulatory structures underpinning the market.
Announcing the business plan, David Edmonds, LSB Chair, said he wanted “to make the market work better. This is not a distraction from more fundamental debates about the rule of the law and confidence in the legal system: it is an indispensable part of building that confidence for the individual citizen.” Edmonds noted that the budget for implementation of the LSB and its business plan had increased by £0.8m to £4.9m, but that this was “with good reason” and reflected the “wider scale of the Board’s ambition”.
Desmond Browne QC, Bar Council Chair, said: “We shall study the business plan with interest; we look forward to continuing to build a constructive and purposeful relationship with the LSB.”
A Bar Standards Board spokesperson said it was “particularly interested and pleased to see the LSB place an emphasis on working closely with partners in pursuit of a modern legal services market in which quality, access to justice, value for money and the interests of all consumers are the focus”. The Board had worked closely with the LSB and would continue to do so, they said.
The LSB, which launched in January, oversees nine separate legal services regulators including the Bar Council and Law Society, and the Office for Legal Complaints. Comments must be sent to the LSB by 13 March 2009.