Falconer announces White Paper to implement Clementi reforms

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, today (21 March) confirmed that the government will be introducing legislation to put into place recommendations made by Sir David Clementi in his recent review of the regulation of the legal profession.

Speaking at a Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) conference on the future of legal services, Lord Falconer said that the government would introduce a White Paper later this year, followed by necessary legislation,

Among Clementi’s recommendations to be brought in will be the foundation of a Legal Services Board (LSB) to oversee the standards setting for lawyers. However the Law Society, the Bar Council and other existing professional bodies will retain their status as the day-to-day “front line” regulators of the profession.

Lord Falconer said that any professional body wanting to be a regulator would have to split its regulatory and representative functions, and he welcomed the efforts made so far by the Law Society and Bar Council to do so.

Above all the Lord Chancellor stressed that consumers would be put first. He announced the establishment of an Office for Legal Complaints, to manage complaints handling for all the legal professions. However the front line bodies will retain responsibility for discipline of members.

Lord Falconer said: “Confidence and choice – this is what we need to head towards, this is our vision for the future of legal services.”

He added: “Reform of legal services is overdue. Where the system is not working as well as we need it to, we must put it right.”