As the Legal Services Bill receives its second reading in the House of Commons today (4 June), the Bar Council is urging MPs to put consumers first.
The council feels that the House of Lords’ version of the bill benefits consumers, while maintaining a strong and independent legal profession. But, according to Lord Hunt, revisions made to the bill have not strictly put the consumer first, instead benefiting the Secretary of State.
Apparently, according to Hunt, in the original draft there were 111 mentions of the Secretary of State, while the revised bill in December had 288 references. Hunt saw this as the Government tightening its grip on the legal profession, which would lead to lawyers losing their independence.
The loss of independence is the Bar Council’s biggest bugbear, as a ‘dependent’ profession will act in the interests of the Government rather than the client. Can that be good for consumers?