Tuesday 20 May 2014


Overtaken by events, this blogger has just rediscovered a media release dating back to 7 May from the Law Society for England and Wales which reads, in relevant part:
Over-regulation is bad for the profession and the public

The Law Society has welcomed today's announcement by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that it is launching an initiative [details of which are available here] to reduce the burden of regulation on solicitor firms. This is an area of serious concern for solicitors, particularly for those within small firms, with many reporting that the cost of compliance is harmful to their business.

Responding to the SRA announcement today Law Society Chief Executive said the Law Society is keen to work with the SRA and with members to examine how regulatory burdens might be reduced whilst maintaining standards and serving the public interest.
“All firms, and small firms in particular, have had to weather very turbulent conditions in recent years. Easing the regulatory costs will help firms to focus on better servicing their clients. We all want regulation that is effective, proportionate and affordable. Clients should have confidence that high standards are paramount but if matters do go wrong they can be assured of quick and fair redress.  
It is critical that the SRA avoids unintended consequences and that changes to the professional indemnity insurance (PII) rules help to restore much needed stability to the PII market. The SRA's decision not to go ahead with its proposal for minimum financial ratings for insurers underlines the importance for any debates that will take place around proposals to be underpinned by careful research so that the consequences of changes which may seem attractive on paper are fully thought through and are proportionate in their impact. The Law Society will actively engage in that debate.” ...
All very interesting, but it does seem to this blogger that there's an awful lot of regulation going on.  He wonders whether there is any data to show that solicitors -- particularly those who practise IP -- are being better regulated now than in 2007 when the SRA was hived off from the Law Society: if so, what are the criteria by which any change is measured? And how does the SRA's performance measure up to that of the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg)?  Does anyone know?


  1. Given that the vast bulk of regulation is designed to (a) protect the consumer and (b) demonstrate to politicians that the legal profession "gets it", I suspect it will be difficult to find any real benefits in the area of IP law, where much the work is not consumer-focussed.

  2. At the CIPA AGM the lighter touch on insurance and the more concise rule book of IPReg gained plaudits from the LSB speaker.