Newsletter – February 2022

From the CEO

Back in June 2021, I wrote about how the CLSB was moving up the regulatory league table, as measured by our oversight regulator the Legal Services Board (LSB). Well, we have now reached the top of that table, with the LSB commending the “focused and thorough way” that the CLSB has turned around its regulatory approach since 2019. That puts us alongside the Solicitors Regulation Authority and CILEx Regulation as the three best performing legal regulators, meeting all 27 of the LSB’s performance standards.

But this is not our only measure of success. Just as important are the messages we’re hearing from you about how we are doing as a regulator. I would like to share some of the feedback we received recently about what Costs Lawyers think of the CLSB, to help fuel an ongoing conversation about how we can best help you and your clients.

Each year for as long as we can remember, we have asked Costs Lawyers whether they think the CLSB is an effective regulator. You tell us either “yes” (we are effective) or “no” (we are not). But that doesn’t answer the most interesting and important question: why?

In 2021, we added a free text box into the annual regulatory return, encouraging Costs Lawyers to tell us why they feel we are or aren’t an effective regulator. The results have helped us to understand your needs and where our focus should lie.

First and foremost, it is clear that you value effective communication. This includes providing accessible guidance and materials, but also involves giving clear and timely advice on ethical dilemmas that aren’t directly covered elsewhere. For example, you told us:

“The guidance notes and documents produced by the CLSB are very detailed and informative, and clear to follow. When I have needed to contact the CLSB the response was very quick and knowledgeable.”

“Keeping us all updated is critical and I believe CLSB delivers this.”

“If I have an ethical question where I need guidance, I ask the CLSB. They are always very helpful.”

It is also encouraging to hear that the new CPD Rules, introduced in 2021, are having a positive impact on flexibility and choice for Costs Lawyers, while maintaining professional standards. For example, you told us:

“I think that this new CPD process is more effective and allows us to focus on what we need as individuals, also allowing flexibility, especially during the pandemic.”

“The CPD requirements are a good way of practitioners like myself keeping up to date with relevant skills to carry out the job to a high standard.”

“There have been some significant improvements recently. The recent change in CPD rules is reflective of a more controlled and consumer based regulatory framework.”

Overall 99.5% of Costs Lawyers who answered this question thought CLSB is an effective regulator. One Costs Lawyer commented: “There has been a big improvement and things are heading in the right direction but there is still a way to go.”

This is an important observation. We are mindful that our current performance is assessed – by the LSB and by the profession – at a single point in time. It would be easy to sit back and turn on the cruise control, hoping that our past performance will translate into future success. We want to assure all of our stakeholders that this is not our intention; rather, we see our recent achievements as a baseline for the future, giving us the intel and experience we need to continually grow and improve.

Kate Wellington


Regulatory News

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