Which one of these are you?

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  • I'm in the agnostic camp (thank goodness) on OFR. I see its benefits and its risks. And I recognise in Nicky Richmond's excellent piece the concerns the kinds of things I would be complaining about if it was being done in academia (analogous things have been going on for some time). For all that I sympathise, isn't there a schizophrenia in the reaction too? We want self regulation, but we want someone else to do it, we want someone to tell us what to do, but when they do we don't like it? We don't want one size fits all, but nor do we want complexity. It's a conundrum which OFR seeks to 'solve' by making firms more responsible for their own approach and thus making the rules more flexible. Whether it works will depend on how the very difficult role of the COLPs plays out and whether OFR can be enforced when it needs to be. Judges, like solicitors, like rules and this may make life tricky for the SRA when it comes to policing breaches. The SRA will say, with some justification, that usually they seek a broader and much less hostile engagement than through enforcement. Whether they can achieve that remains to be seen.

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  • I know one judge who did not follow his own Departments rules this year and last!

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  • It really isn't that complicated. Company secretarial and nominated compliance roles have been around in commerce for a very long time and regulators need to have a name in the frame.
    The outcomes emphasis is supposed to avoid the tick box approach that every one else in business has to put up with. Instead we have proper star chamber stuff.
    Yes, it does feel very much like strict liability, or if you break the 11th commandment (the getting caught one), the books will be thrown at you. Fair? Nope. Gives consumers confidence? Nope.
    As with much in this field - 'they' preach consumer protection and practice industry protectionism.
    It all adds to the confusion and regulatory mess that has become the entirely and expressly unintended result of Clementi.
    In economics terms it is simple. To compete with lawyers all you have to do is (a) prove you are a decent sort, (b) show us your business plans, (c) prove you are financially sound, and we'll probably let you play when we get around to it - but on the proviso that if we decide to pick on you in the name of the 'consumer' it will effectively be a strict liability offence that you have little or no chance of managing, defraying or avoiding.
    Its a piece of artistry in industry competitiveness terms that you really have to admire in its eloquence and subtlety. Will it stop the legal profession clinging on to PI work being relegated to a small part of the claims management industry? I very much doubt it.

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