Legal Services Board Approves Practice Rights Applications

Legal Services Board Approves Practice Rights Applications

Legal Services Board Approves Practice Rights Applications

October 2009

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has approved IPS’ applications for practice rights in probate, conveyancing, litigation and immigration practice. The outline of the applications appears below.

Probate practice and reserved instrument (conveyancing) practice rights

The first applications to be approved were IPS’ applications for CILEx to be designated as an approved regulator for reserved instrument and probate activity rights. 

The applications have now been referred to the Lord Chancellor for approval. A Designation Order will then need Parliamentary approval.  A copy of the LSB letter to the Lord Chancellor can be found here.
An executive summary of the applications can be found here. The applications provide for individuals to be authorised to undertake reserved or regulated activities and for regulation of the entities through which legal services are provided.
Litigation and immigration practice rights

The LSB has approved IPS’ application for CILEx to extend the award of rights to conduct litigation and related advocacy rights to Chartered Legal Executives and to include rights in civil and family as well as criminal proceedings.  
CILEx is already an approved regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007 for awarding rights to conduct litigation and rights of audience.  This litigation application extends the rights to enable CILEx to award rights to conduct litigation to suitably qualified and experienced Chartered Legal Executives in civil, criminal or family practice and exercise associated chambers and/or open court rights of audience. The rights of audience are those which CILEx is already authorised to award.  A full copy of the application can be found here with supporting annexes here. The scheme rules can be found here.
CILEx is already a designated qualifying regulator for immigration practice rights.  The immigration application introduces a new scheme of qualification for immigration practitioners and for regulation of their entities.  
All of the applications provide for regulation of the entities through which legal services are provided. IPS is seeking Parliamentary orders before it will commence the entity regulation scheme.
Application summary

The applications address a range of issues which are summarised below.  IPS consulted on each of these elements. Links to the consultations and summary of responses also appear below. 
Practice rights authorisation and qualification scheme

Each of the applications sets out the practice rights IPS seeks and how practitioners qualify to become authorised to exercise the rights.  IPS will require practitioners to demonstrate they are competent to undertake the activities for which they seek authorisation.  
IPS consulted on the rights it sought and its approach to authorisation for the award of practice rights.
Entity regulation

The entities through which reserved and regulated legal activities are provided to consumers need to be authorised.  IPS has developed proposals for the regulation of entities which appear in each application. 
Risk based approach to regulation

Regulators are expected to take a risk based approach to regulation. IPS commissioned research to enable it to understand the expectations of CILEx members and the risks within entities that regulation needs to address. 
IPS has developed a risk-based framework for the authorisation and monitoring of entities that it will regulate. Its consultation on its risk based approach, a summary of replies to the consultation and IPS response appears here. 
Outcomes focused regulation

IPS has taken an outcomes focused approach to regulation. It reviewed the Code of Conduct to ensure the principles of conduct that members and entities must meet are fit for the purpose of regulating their conduct and ensuring they are properly focused on the needs of consumers.
IPS also developed accounts requirements that entities regulated by IPS will have to meet. The accounts requirements take a prescriptive approach. 
IPS had consulted on its approach to the Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.
Client protection arrangements

IPS recognises that it must have in place adequate arrangements for the protection of clients of legal service providers it regulates. It has taken an open market approach to professional indemnity insurance. IPS also proposes to set up a Compensation Fund backed by insurance.  IPS is seeking an Order under s69 Legal Services Act to be authorised to set up the Compensation Fund.
IPS had consulted on its approach to professional indemnity insurance and compensation.

IPS has reviewed its existing enforcement requirements set out in its Investigation, Disciplinary and Appeal Rules. Those Rules have been updated to incorporate IPS’ new responsibilities as an entity regulator.   
IPS is seeking an Order under s69 Legal Services Act to become authorised to intervene into practices where it becomes necessary to do so. 
IPS had consulted on its approach to complaints and disciplinary procedures.