LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – A significant proportion of MPs believe the new Legal Services Bill now before Parliament will improve legal services to the public, according to a survey commissioned by the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX).
MPs from the three main political parties were asked if the deregulation of legal services which would enable non-lawyers to invest in and own law firms through Alternative Business Structures (ABS), would improve or worsens legal services to the public.
Over a third (36%) of the 124 who replied said the introduction of ABSs and the deregulation of legal services as proposed in the Bill. will ‘significantly improve’ or ‘improve’ the delivery of those services to the public. Only 14% said the Bill would ‘worsen’ or ‘significantly worsen’ legal services to the public.
The Legal Services Bill plans to remove current anti-competitive restrictions on external investment in legal practices. There have historically been a number of statutory restrictions on the type of business structures through which legal services may be provided.
“The deregulation of legal services and the creation of Alternative Business Structures as proposed in the Bill will have a significant impact on how and where the public buy legal services and on how our members deliver these services to the public,” said Diane Burleigh, ILEX Chief Executive.
“Despite the fact that Legal Executives are fully qualified lawyers, they not allowed to own a legal practice under current regulations. This will change under the new Bill and they will be able to own legal practices and practice in partnership with solicitors and barristers.