The Legal Services Board (LSB) published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2023. It describes the work completed and the LSB’s impact, focused on ensuring legal services are accessible and better meet the needs of society. The report covers the second year of the LSB’s Reshaping Legal Services strategy.
Some key projects and activities during the year included:
- Delivering a significant programme of work to make it easier for the public to access legal services. It culminated in a statement of policy on empowering consumers, which sets high-level expectations of what regulators should do to provide people who need legal services with the knowledge and capability to engage effectively with the market. This includes helping them to access useable information about the price, quality and service of legal services providers.
- Completing a major project to promote confidence that lawyers have the right skills, knowledge, and behaviours to protect their interests and enforce their rights. The result was a statement of policy on ongoing competence, which sets expectations of what regulators should do to ensure that the legal professionals they regulate remain competent throughout their careers.
- Continuing our efforts to call for a small business legal support strategy to address their unmet legal needs and improve access to justice. This was supported by our research showing that small businesses face a significant access to justice gap and can struggle to engage in the market.
- Supporting the sector to develop and deliver services that take account of the vulnerabilities consumers face when they need and use legal services. We published case study research exploring the vulnerabilities and barriers people experience.
- Taking effective action to resolve disputes and disagreements between the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) and CILEx Regulation Limited (CRL). We concluded that it was not necessary or proportionate to take formal enforcement action against CILEX or CRL, and we are monitoring their progress in relation to the undertakings they have given to fulfil our recommendations.
The Annual Report and Accounts show that the LSB continues to manage resources diligently and deliver value for money for levy-payers and the public. The LSB’s budget for the year was £4.287m, and the actual outturn was £4.26m, 0.6% within budget.
Alan Kershaw, Chair of the LSB, said:
“During the past year, the LSB’s aim has been to play a full part in driving up regulatory standards, promoting access to justice, and increasing public trust and confidence. We will build on what we have achieved. It is our ambition that regulation plays a significant role in helping people and small businesses identify when they have a legal problem and can find the right help to suit them at the right price.
I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Dr Helen Phillips, for her immense hard work and commitment to the LSB over the past eight years. This report is a testament to her dedication to ensuring legal services are as good as they can be, which is what the public expects and deserve.
I look forward to building on the achievements set out in this report to secure fairer outcomes, stronger confidence and better services, to the benefit of both the public and the legal professions.”