Bar Council calls for major changes to Legal Services Bill

The Bar Council will call for three major changes to the draft Legal Services Bill today (8 June) as it gives evidence to the joint committee scrutinising the new legislation.

The Bar wants the committee to consider the powers of the Legal Services Board (LSB); the arrangements for complaints handling; and the cost of the new system.

Bar chair Stephen Hockman QC said that there is a danger for the umbrella regulator, the Legal Services Board, to be too heavy-handed in the way it manages front-line regulators such as the Law Society and the Bar Council.

Hockman added that the new complaints handling procedure is too inflexible, and voiced his concerns that the estimated costs of the new system are overly optimistic.

Hockman and Desmond Browne QC, chair of the Bar’s White Paper Legal Services Response Group, will give evidence to the joint committee headed by Beachcrofts’ former senior partner and Conservative peer Lord Hunt of Wirral this afternoon.