Manzoor welcomes White Paper and challenges vested interests

The Legal Services Ombudsman and Legal Services Complaints Commissioner (LSCC) Zahida Manzoor has warned the government that it needs to push through the reforms proposed in the recent white paper on the future of legal services.

Responding to the paper yesterday (10 January) Manzoor said: “The government should grasp this opportunity and see the radical reforms through in spite of the challenges from those who will seek to preserve their own interests. Merely tweaking what already exists should not be considered a serious option.”

Manzoor welcomed the paper’s proposals to establish an oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board (LSB), and allow lawyers to practice in partnership with other professionals as well as permitting outside investment.

She also welcomed the plans to set up an Office for Legal Complaints (OLC), despite this making her role as LSCC redundant.

Manzoor said: “It is imperative that [the LSB and OLC] are not only independent of Government, the professions and the existing structures and systems, but are seen to be independent and impartial.”