Newsletter – December 2020

From the CEO

You might be aware that part of your practising fee is made up of levies, which the CLSB must pass on to other organisations. Two of those organisations are currently seeking approval for a budget increase. The increase will be recovered from you, and your fellow legal practitioners, through practising fees in future years. Now is the time to have your say on their plans.

In 2021, approximately £22 of your practising fee will be passed on to the Legal Services Board (LSB), around £8 to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) and £9 to the Legal Choices website.

In relation to Legal Choices, the CLSB has committed to providing funding for the next three years, but the amount of the funding will not go up during that period. In fact, we expect it to go down. Conversely, LSB and LeO are both asking for more money from the lawyers who fund them.

LSB recently published a forward-looking strategy for the legal services sector, along with its 2021-22 business plan. New activities that LSB will be undertaking next year include reviewing the scope of legal regulation, developing a legal support strategy for small businesses and providing simple legal products. To pay for this, the LSB is asking for a total budget of £4.1m, representing an increase of 4.4% or £175k on this year’s budget. By way of comparison, the CLSB’s total budget for 2021 is £183k, which includes the levies that we must pass on. A consultation on the LSB’s proposals is now open, closing on 5 February 2021.

The Legal Ombudsman is also consulting on its budget for next year, with a closing date of 15 January. In 2020, LeO asked for a budget increase but was turned down by LSB, leaving LeO with a so-called “standstill” budget for this year. LeO acknowledges it was under-performing even before the standstill budget, and the situation is now worse. Under new leadership, it wants to address these problems and deliver a redress scheme that better serves both lawyers and their clients. To do this, it is seeking a budget increase of 19% to fund a comprehensive recovery plan.

LSB’s and LeO’s plans affect you, both as a member of the legal community and as a lawyer who funds LSB and LeO through your practising fee. If you have views on the proposals being made by these organisations, we would encourage you to respond to their consultations, or let us know and we can reflect your views in our own response.

In the meantime, from me and everyone at the CLSB, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday period. See you next year.

Kate Wellington

CEO

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