The current arrangements for legal complaints, and how complaint outcomes are used to improve standards in the legal sector, are too complex, involve too many stages, and pass through too many organisations. Faster, more efficient, and better targeted regulation can be delivered, to the benefit of consumers and the sector, by significant legislative reform.
We believe it’s time for fundamental reform to create a regulatory system fit for the future – one that works for legal service users and providers, and meets society’s need for a well-functioning legal services market.
The Regulation of Legal Services (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 20 April 2023. The Bill updates the regulation of legal services in Scotland and provides for a modernised regulatory framework. We welcomed the Bill and committed to working with others to support the Bill’s passage through Parliament and implementing its provisions. On 8 August we published our response to the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee's call for views on the Bill and our response to the Finance and Public Administration's call for views on the accompanying Financial Memorandum.
We believe the overall goal of reform should be better outcomes for consumers and the legal market achieved through agile, future proof, responsive and proportionate regulation that manages risks, aids choice, improves quality of services and is transparent and accountable in its operation. We've identified five key aspects to this:
- Delivering a better statutory framework: simple, understandable, agile, proportionate, affordable, fair
- Enabling a focus on the needs of consumers and clients, including reducing risk and improving quality: using data sharing, co-production, and consumer research to identify issues, and then target interventions
- Affording opportunities to innovate, and delivering greater and more informed choice: legal services can be provided in a variety of ways and innovation is encouraged, leading to greater consumer choice and a sustainable market
- Increasing trust and confidence in regulation and the sector: an independent, transparent and accountable model, with joined-up and co-ordinated ‘end to end’ regulation and redress
- Ensuring better protection and faster redress: a single gateway, enabling fast and proportionate processes, ensuring redress is received when appropriate, and avoiding duplication and delay.
You can read more about our views on reform in our published papers and articles.