Editor's comment: Watchdogs with sharp elbows
The free market gets a bad rap these days but casting an eye over this week's well-crafted report into legal service regulation by Lord Hunt, it's clear competition has its benefits. Back in the days when policing and representing solicitors was a Law Society monopoly, the society repeatedly ignored well-founded complaints made about its work. Then came the Legal Services Act (LSA). Back then it was hard to discern why legal services reform suddenly became a minor priority for the Labour Government, beyond an unfocused desire to beef up consumer power. But the LSA has already had a positive impact, if only for one reason: it has created competition where there was only complacency - competition of agencies and ideas to regulate, shape and represent the legal profession. Judged by the ideas now emerging from Hunt, not to mention the Legal Services Board (LSB) and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), competition is quickly delivering in terms of improving regulation what decades of the Law Society's central planning and intransigence couldn't.
Competition delivers on regulating lawyers
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