The UK has one of the world’s most dynamic legal services markets. It is home to some of the largest legal services providers, many of whom have taken advantage of the liberal business structures available. In contrast to other jurisdictions, England and Wales permits the external ownership of law firms and a wide range of practice structures regulated by ten front line regulators.
The statutory framework enables new regulators to enter the market and for existing regulators to change and develop their regulatory arrangements with the approval of the overarching regulator, the Legal Services Board.
We have extensive experience in advising the legal services regulators and supporting them in developing and operating their regulatory schemes; we have worked with seven of them in recent times. Our expert support in this area has recently included: drafting codes of conduct and other regulatory rules, assisting with applications to become a licensing authority for Alternative Business Structures and preparing drafts of statutory instruments to extend or amend regulatory arrangements under Section 69 of the Legal Services Act . Our clients also come to us for advice on the provisions of the Legal Services Act, policy development and other strategic issues. We have also acted for legal services regulators in judicial reviews and other statutory challenges to their decision making.
Our expertise in this area has led to our advising legal regulators in other jurisdictions on their schemes in the light of our experience of the England and Wales models.