October 1, 2010

The Legal Services Board – an independent body responsible, for another couple of days – before handing over to the Legal Ombudsman – for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales – has now officially backed its Consumer Panel in rejecting the Jackson Review’s call for scrapping referral fees, Insurance Times reports this week.

The LSB and its successor the LO are responsible for resolving complaints about lawyers – but not for making or policing the rules governing lawyer’s behaviour. Why ban referral fees, they ask, when they have just “outlined a detailed set of clear disclosure and transparency requirements for those who enter into referral fees arrangements, which … will give consumers better awareness of the details behind transactions and secure greater transparency across the sector.” Why indeed?

LSB chairman Dave Edmonds said: “There has been long-running debate around these issues. But empirical evidence has been lacking. Our hypothesis is that neither an outright ban nor a laissez-faire free-for-all would be appropriate.” Sounds like a frighteningly reasonable bloke.


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