Representatives of the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) talked last week to conveyancers about the current and future state of regulation.
At the quarterly meeting of the Conveyancing Association (CA) Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the LSCP, outlined the panel’s recent proposals to simplify legal services regulation to focus on the activity rather than the professional.
Ms Davies talked about the difficult reality that many coming into contact with legal services face, saying trust in the legal profession is falling. She said: “Most people move home rarely and don’t know much about how the conveyancing process works.
“We need to make things as simple for consumers as possible, but having multiple regulators and ombudsmen just adds to the confusion.”
Ms Davies said that the panel would like to see more joined up regulation with a single regulator and single ombudsman to tackle all issues.
Speaking after her Stephen Ward, Communications Director at the CLC, said: “In many respects we are of one mind with the Legal Services Consumer Panel. In the future one regulator could be the reality.”
He said that changes needed a considered and full response but that there needed to be an end to piecemeal regulation going forwards.
Mr Ward used his talk to outline the ways in which the council was improving its regulation, including the promotion of good risk management and support for licensed conveyancers that were looking to innovate and meet changing consumer expectations.
Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the Conveyancing Association, said: “Simplifying regulation of legal services is a good idea in principle but there are a number of political hurdles to overcome to make the LSCP’s vision a reality.
“However, the Conveyancing Association is doing what we can to bring the practices of solicitors and licensed conveyancers into line with our set of Pledges which promote customer service standards and a uniform complaints process.
“This benefits the people who need a simplified system the most — home-buyers.”