Westminster Legal Policy Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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The future of legal services in England and Wales - reviewing regulation, consumer protection and responding to innovation

Morning, Tuesday, 15th September 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will be a timely opportunity to discuss the recommendations from the final report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation, published this month.

We are pleased that leader of the review Professor Stephen Mayson, Centre for Ethics & Law, UCL is a keynote speaker at this conference.

The report makes recommendations for the future of legal services, including:

  • a single independent regulator for the legal sector - the Legal Services Regulation Authority - to replace the current arrangement of ten front-line regulators with additional oversight by the Legal Services Board regulator
  • replacing the current reserved legal activities, by categorising all legal services and regulating them to different degrees according to the risk to public interest of the work
  • all legal services providers being registered and regulated - thereby moving away from regulating lawyers by their professional title and, instead, towards the work they undertake
  • measures for ensuring those who are unable to afford a regulated lawyer are not left without access to legal advice
  • the provision of a single point of entry for all consumer complaints

Also making keynote contributions are: Clare Hayes, Deputy Director of UK Legal Services & Innovation, Ministry of Justice; Peter Rowlinson, Head of UK Legal Services Policy, Ministry of Justice; and Rachel Wood, Executive Director of Regulation, Law Society of Scotland.

Further key areas for discussion include:

  • the regulatory framework - its future and the respective roles of the different regulators and how they interrelate
  • consumers - protection, and improving their experience and engagement with legal services
  • legal technology - challenges for the sector in adoption, and issues that its use raises for regulation
  • the legal market - impact of the entry of professional services firms, competition, and the future of reserved activities

The discussion in detail:

  • The final report’s proposals and their implications for firms, alternative providers, consumers and regulatory bodies
  • The impact of the CMA’s Legal Services market study conducted in 2016, and issues it raised including on:
    • consumer protection
    • redress for users of unauthorised services
    • encouraging competition by providing open data to support price comparison websites
    • the Scottish model for legal services - with recommendations to separate the regulative and representative functions of the Law Society of Scotland
  • The effect of the entry of a number of professional and financial service providers into the legal services market, including tech-based solutions, looking at:
    • latest trends and likely future scenarios for the legal services market and the legal profession
    • whether further changes are required in the focus and function of regulators in the industry
    • the transformation of many law firms to professional service companies offering a range of services since the implementation of Legal Services Act 2007
    • the suitability of the Act’s regulatory framework into the future in the context of these and other changes in the legal services market
  • Practical solutions for increasing transparency, such as bolstering current requirements for law firms to publish fees and regulatory status clearly online
  • Global competitiveness of legal service providers in England and Wales, and how the market is responding to new technologies and fast-changing conditions alongside promoting consumer interests

We also expect discussion on:

  • Pros and cons of activity licensing versus the current regulation of title, with calls for an expansion to the number of legal services currently regulated and thus open to redress
  • The Legal Ombudsman‘s powers with regard to complaint procedures being extended to include the authority to begin its own investigations, even when a complaint has not been made
  • The potential impact and importance for England and Wales’ legal services market structure - regarding the CMA’s recommendations for legal services in Scotland
  • Priorities for improving access to justice during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people are seeking legal advice for employment and housing problems

Additional developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • Concerns raised by the Legal Services Board:
    • on transparency and slow progress in this area flowing from the 2007 Act
    • that much of the population still struggles with accessing the law and that regulatory action may be needed to address this issue, as explored in their recent legal capability report measuring legal confidence, legal self-efficacy and accessibility of justice
  • The Legal Services Board set to conduct a review into the extent that it can reform the regulatory regime within the parameters of the 2007 Act
  • The revisit of legal services by CMA due by the end of 2020, examining progress, and scope for further action on consumer protection since the CMA’s last review of the sector in 2016
  • Recent findings of low awareness amongst consumers of legal services of:
    • legal regulations
    • complaints procedures and avenues for redress
    • the role and function of the Legal Ombudsman
  • Confirmation from Government that a review of the 2007 Legal Services Act is not on the agenda, despite calls for a review of the regulatory regime due to more recent developments including the uptake of new technologies in the sector
  • The Legal Services Consumer Panel’s recent consumer impact report highlighting challenges for customers choosing their legal services provider, and very low use of price comparison websites
  • The Solicitors Regulation Authority launching a review of the current approach to solicitors’ continuing competence

The agenda:

  • The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation - key proposals and reactions so far
  • Regulating legal services - market structures, transparency, and the future roles of regulators
  • Consumer protection, managing unmet legal need, and simplifying redress
  • Alternative approaches to regulating legal services and how the Scottish model works in practice - a case study
  • The expansion of legal service provision - technology adoption and innovation in the market
  • The next steps for legal services policy development

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference is no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Ministry of Justice; the Crown Prosecution Service; Government Legal Department; and HMCTS.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Elisabeth Davies

Chair, Office for Legal Complaints

Keynote Speakers

Peter Rowlinson

Head of UK Legal Services Policy, Ministry of Justice

Clare Hayes

Deputy Director of UK Legal Services & Innovation, Ministry of Justice

Elisabeth Davies

Chair, Office for Legal Complaints

Professor Stephen Mayson

Centre for Ethics & Law, UCL and Lead, Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation

Rachel Wood

Executive Director of Regulation, Law Society of Scotland


Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald QC MP

Member, Regulatory Reform Select Committee

Lord Mackay

Former Lord Chancellor


Chris Handford

Director of Regulatory Policy, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Ewen Macleod

Director of Strategy and Policy, Bar Standards Board

Carilyn Burman

Chief Executive Officer, CILEx Regulation

Andrew Thornton

Founder & CEO, Sparqa Legal

Mike Roberts

Managing Director, LegalShield UK

Roshana Gammampila

Director for Tax and Legal Technology & Innovation, PwC

Matthew Hill

Chief Executive Officer, Legal Services Board

Sheila Kumar

Chief Executive Officer, Council for Licensed Conveyancers

Simon Davis

President, The Law Society

Ruth Daniel

Chief Executive Officer, Access to Justice Foundation

John Gould

Senior Partner, Russell-Cooke