The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) was established on 1 October 2016 and its Chair and initial membership were appointed at that time. On 7 October last, I signed a Commencement Order which brought the following key remaining reforms of the 2015 Act into effect:
- The new public complaints and professional conduct regime which will be administered by the Authority and is supported separately by a new and independent Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal.
- The new and more consumer-friendly legal costs transparency requirements on legal practitioners supported separately by the new Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators and a Schedule of Legal Costs Principles.
- The roll-out of Limited Liability Partnerships.
- The establishment by the Authority of a new Advisory Committee on the Grant of Patents of Precedence for the conferral of Senior Counsel.
In March of this year, the Authority also completed its first review of the operation of the Legal Services Regulation Act under the terms of Section 6 of the Act.
Further work by the Authority is also on-going including:
- The completion of its review of the provision of legal professional education under section 34 of the 2015 Act on which it has made an initial report and held a follow-up seminar in September of this year. I anticipate that the final report will be completed early next year.
- New legal services advertising regulations for both solicitors and barristers will be introduced by the Authority in Q1 of next year under the terms of section 218 of the 2015 Act. The Authority is conducting consultations with stakeholders.
Details of the Authority’s strategic plan, reports and minutes continue to be made publicly available on its website, www.lsra.ie as well as being laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas where required under the 2015 Act. The website also includes details of a series of public consultations and reports on specific regulatory issues that the Authority had to complete within set deadlines under the 2015 Act in the period following its establishment. The Authority has also recruited additional staff and secured a lease on a new office premises from January in support of the effective delivery of its functions.