CILEx requests regulatory change on LawTech
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has stipulated that changes are required to the legal regulatory system due to increasing development of Lawtech solutions and remote access to legal services.
Their response says that the impact of Covid-19 has fast-tracked consumer demand for legal services, more so in private client and conveyancing services and will carry on after the pandemic. Therefore, requiring a need for regulatory framework which will continually monitor and control evolving technologies in the future.
The Competition & Market Authority (CMA) issued a market study on the legal sector back in 2016 and last month they announced a three-month review of the progress made in improving competition in the legal services sector. CILEx responded to the ongoing review to CMA arguing that “although the legal services sector is becoming more competitive, there are still areas requiring intervention by the CMA to demystify the legal market for consumers, give customers access to a range of legal professionals and ensure regulation reflects technological developments.”
“We foresee a need for greater flexibility within the regulatory framework to allow for alternative methods of delivery which can be included within the fold of regulation.
“The regulatory framework will need to shift to enable these digital solutions, which are created, coded and maintained by non-legal middlemen, and may even eliminate the role of legal practitioners within certain legal processes, to be effectively regulated, or at the very least moderated, to ensure minimum standards within legal service delivery and healthy competition for the sector.”
The response continued by highlighting:
“the need for impartiality in relation to quality indicators that could help consumers choose a lawyer, to prevent them from being detrimental to competition in legal services.”
CILEx applauded the effort and work being carried out by both the CMA and Legal Services Board “in developing quality indicators and its view that these be independent of any single legal regulator or professional body.”
CILEx also explained to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that the some of the current ‘quality hallmarks’ in the legal sector, such as the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) blocks entry to non-solicitor law firms and said it was “at least questionable” whether the CQS, only available to firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, was “a true reflection of quality or choice available in the sector”.
Professor Chris Bones, the chair of CILEx, says:
“The CMA’s ongoing review of the legal services market, building on its comprehensive 2016 Market Study, is important if the legal services sector is to become more competitive and offer better value to consumers.
“There are still areas that are outdated and where illogical anomalies need to be addressed. These would benefit from the CMA’s support. The remedies delivered would make the legal market more transparent for consumers, allow customers to access a greater range of legal service providers and ensure regulation reflects technological developments.”