The Legal Services Board was created by the Legal Services Act 2007. The Board came into being on 1 January 2009 and became fully operational on 1 January 2010. Its overriding mandate is to ensure that regulation in the legal services sector is carried out in the public interest; and that the interests of consumers are placed at the heart of the system.
The Board itself is responsible for overseeing legal regulators in England and Wales. It is independent of Government and of the legal profession. It oversees ten separate bodies, the Approved Regulators, which themselves regulate the lawyers practising throughout the jurisdiction. The Board will also oversee the new organisation being established to handle consumer complaints about lawyers, the Office for Legal Complaints.
Our clear focus is to deliver the eight regulatory objectives, set out prominently in the Act. These are:
- protecting and promoting the public interest
- supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law
- improving access to justice
- protecting and promoting the interests of consumers
- promoting competition in the provision of services in the legal sector
- encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession
- increasing public understanding of citizens legal rights and duties
- promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles of independence and integrity; proper standards of work; observing the best interests of the client and the duty to the court; and maintaining client confidentiality.
The LSB has published a pamphlet examining what the Regulatory Objectives mean in practice, setting out their scope and how they might be used to measure the impact of reforms in the sector.
Further information about the reform programme that led to the LSB’s creation can be found in the history of the reforms section.