New Council member elected
David Bailey-Vella has been elected to fill the vacant seat on the ACL Council. A Costs Lawyer working in-house at housing charity Shelter, Mr Bailey-Vella began working in costs in 2013 at Manchester firm Antony Hodari on a human rights group action case. He joined RMR Legal Costs Consultants in 2015, specialising in catastrophic injury and clinical negligence, where he qualified as a Costs Lawyer.
He joined Shelter earlier this year when the opportunity arose to work for a non-profit organisation.
Mr Bailey-Vella said: “I am committed to giving a voice to Costs Lawyers and to ensuring the members are represented across the diverse and varied areas we work in”.
Practising certificate fee set to stay at £250
The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) is consulting on the 2019 practising certificate fee, which it proposes to maintain at £250 for the eighth year running.
On the basis of 622 Costs Lawyers, the CLSB will raise £165,500, and its proposed budget for 2019 comes in at £164,000. The main areas of expenditure are salaries (£93,500), assorted services (£22,000), the Legal Services Board levy (£18,000), travel (£8,000) and the Legal Ombudsman levy (£5,000).
Spending on the Legal Choices website – a collaboration between all the legal regulators for consumers of legal services – is to increase from £400 to £5,000 for 2019 because of work being done on it as part of the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations to improve transparency in the legal market.
The consultation on the practising certificate fee closes on 10 September. Click here for all the details.
CLSB cries freedom
The CLSB has urged the oversight the regulator, the Legal Services Board (LSB), to deliver “true regulatory independence” for those organisations – like the ACL, Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – where the representative body is named in the Legal Services Act 2007 as the approved regulator of the profession.
The LSB this week published the outcome of its review of the internal governance rules (IGR), with which all of the regulators need to comply. A major feature of these is to ensure independent regulation so far as possible.
Following the consultation, the LSB has decided to develop new IGR that aim to provide more clarity on the oversight role of the approved regulators and the LSB, and reduce the number of disagreements between approved regulators and regulatory bodies about independence matters.
The LSB also published the responses to its consultation, one of which was from CLSB chief executive Lynn Plumbley (pictured). In this, she said the fact that the 2007 Act named the ACL and others as approved regulators, when the purpose of the Act was to deliver regulatory independence, “defies understanding”.
She continued: “Any involvement by a representative body in the regulatory process is contrary to the aims and objectives of the Act to deliver consumer focused independent regulation. There is now a body of evidence identifying the serious issues this has caused those undertaking regulation under delegation, and how this has diverted focus and resource away from delivering aims and objectives under the Act.
“It is not just the situation between the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority; the Legal Services Board is aware of the difficulties the CLSB has recently faced in addressing recent issues within the ACL and its group structure.
“This is a situation that requires remedy and decisive action by the Legal Services Board, who must summon up the courage for the likely fight to deliver true regulatory independence. The legal professions and the public would expect no less.”