Lay chairs mandated by the LSB for regulatory bodies

  • 24/02/2014

The Legal Services Board (LSB) publishes today its decision to change the Internal Governance Rules (IGRs) so that all new appointments to the role of chair in the largest regulatory bodies must be lay persons.

The Legal Services Act 2007 placed the LSB under a duty to set rules to ensure the approved regulators carry out regulation independently from representative functions.

The Board has concluded, following a consultation, that amending the IGRs to require lay chairs for regulatory bodies provides a workable and proportionate route to increased independence in legal services. The LSB reached the view that greater independence will help safeguard the delivery of the regulatory objectives aligned to the principles of better regulation.

Additionally, in response to the consultation, the LSB is now consulting on a further change to the IGRs to require that regulatory bodies, rather than professional bodies, be responsible for certain aspects of the appointments and reappointments process for board members and their chairs.

Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds said:
“Independent regulation is central to the aims of the 2007 Legal Services Act. This decision to require lay chairs for regulatory bodies represents a significant and sensible step towards embedding and strengthening independence in legal services regulation. It brings the regulatory bodies into line with the LSB’s own lay-chair requirements set out in the 2007 Act.

I also believe that restructuring the appointments and reappointments process would be a proportionate further step to safeguard the independence of regulatory boards. We therefore set out, for further consultation, a series of detailed additional changes to the IGRs to strengthen the ability of the regulators to run their own appointments processes.

As I have said before, these changes, and the new proposals, are not a criticism of any current or past chair. The lay chairs rule comes into effect immediately and will apply to all new appointments.”