Smedley finds legal regulation “unfit for purpose”

The regulation of the legal profession is in need of urgent modernisation, a Law Society report has found.

The regulation of the legal profession is in need of urgent modernisation, a Law Society report has found.

Former Ministry of Justice (MoJ) civil servant Nick Smedley, who was commissioned by the Law Society to conduct a review on whether large corporate firms_and_high_street _firms should be regulated differently, found that change is vital.

Smedley said: “The current arrangements for regulating this vital sector of the UK economy and legal services sector are not robust enough.

“Without rapid change, it’s impossible to conclude that the current regulatory arrangements are fit for purpose.”

The Smedley report will feed into a wider report, has also been commissioned by the Law Society, which is being carried out by the shadow minister for business, enterprise and regulation Lord David Hunt.

The initial recommendations of the Hunt report, which will to set out how the profession should be regulated going forward, are expected next month.

The Lawyer revealed on Monday (23 March) how Smedley recommends that a separate division should be established within the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to regulate firms with corporate clients.

The City of London Law Society had raised concerns about the current regulator’s ‘one size fits all’ approach to regulation, prompting The Law Society to commission the review.
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Lovells senior partner John Young said: “Our view is that regulation and supervision of the legal profession should be appropriate to the type of law firm and the type of client, and not blunt instruments of universal application. The Smedley report is a welcome step in the right direction.”