Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Paying for Regulation

No, not that sort of regulator - I mean the one that the Legal Services Act will impose on IP practitioners whether they practice as solicitors or under the protected titles for registered trademark attorneys and patent attorneys. IPREG has a consultation out on how the cost should be shared. Download it here. Naturally it peddles the alleged evidence that SOLO is high risk and will attract the use of most regulation services. Rest assured, Mr Heap, we do not want them. However since the professional members of the Shadow Board are all drawn from big practice, we do not stand much chance. Hopefully lay members who will properly consider the concerns of the consumer will be appointed soon to redress the balance.

The object of regulation is to protect the consumer. What about a payment model based on turnover like insurance premiums. Surely turnover reflects exposure to the market. At the moment we are counting people and regulated bodies. Some SOLO practices employ armies of paralegals and have high turnover. Are these the high risk ones or are the low turnover ones an equal risk? I have asked for the evidence referred to in the Consultation Document but so far the request goes unanswered.

I believe the consumer does deserve the benefit of regulation but at present the Act seems likely to achieve the exact opposite of its intention and the exodus of many business advisers in the IP and wider legal field from the regulated sector. Since the practice of law (other than litigation, probate and conveyancing) is largely an unreserved activity In England, this seems the most likely outcome.

Do our clients deserve more. If they do perhaps we should consider voluntary self- regulation. Oh that was what the profession used to be about wasn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment