jcdlsb 250506 pn1

Session 2005-06, 25 May 2006
Press Notice 1


The two Houses of Parliament have established a Joint Committee on the Draft Legal Services Bill (Cm 6839) which was published by the Government on 24th May 2006.

The remit of the Committee is to consider the Draft Bill, and to report on it to both Houses. The Committee will proceed in the normal manner of Select Committees, by holding public hearings and receiving written evidence. The Committee will agree a report making recommendations (to which the Government must respond) by 25th July. The report will be published.


The members of the Committee are as follows:

Lords Members:

Lord Bach
Lord Campbell of Alloway
Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Barones Henig
Lord Hunt of Wirral
Lord Neill of Bladen

Commons Members:

David Burrowes MP
Michael J Foster MP
John Hemming MP
Stephen Hesford MP
David Kidney MP
Emily Thornberry MP

Members' declared interests are available on the website: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/jcdlsb.cfm

At its first meeting on 25th May the Committee elected the Lord Hunt of Wirral as Chairman. The Committee expects to take oral evidence in June and July. The programme for these evidence sessions will be announced as soon as possible.

The Joint Committee invites interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence as part of its inquiry into the Draft Legal Services Bill. Submissions, reflecting the guidance on written evidence given in this notice, should reach the Committee as soon as possible and no later than 15 June 2006. Evidence received after this date will be recorded but we cannot guarantee it will form part of the Committee's consideration.

Scope of the Committee's inquiry

The Joint Committee will be looking at all provisions in the Draft Legal Services Bill. In particular, evidence covering the following issues is welcomed:

The Bill - overall

1.Whether the draft bill's proposals are necessary, workable and sufficient; and whether the bills proposed outcomes could be achieved by better means.

2.Views on the Government's estimate of costs contained in the Regulatory Impact Assessment.

Regulatory objectives

3.Whether the regulatory objectives set out in Clause 1 of the bill are appropriate.

Legal Services Board

4.Overall, whether proposals for the regulatory body are fit for purpose; and in particular:

a.The proposed structure and powers of the proposed Legal Services Board (LSB);

b.Funding for the LSB;

c.The relationship between the LSB, the Office for Legal Complaints, the Consumer Panel and the Government.

d.The proposed compensation fund arrangements.

Alternative Business Structures

5.The ability and desirability of the proposed new Alternative Business Structures in:

a.opening up the market for legal services; and

b.delivering consumer benefits.

6.Potential conflicts of interest under the new structures, including

a.Internally€”any potential conflicts of interests in firms providing multidisciplinary services;

b.Externally€”any potential conflicts of interests between the demands of legal professional work and external shareholders.

c.The impact on legal professional privilege.

Office for Legal Complaints

7.Overall, whether the proposed Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) is fit for purpose; and in particular:

a.The proposed structure and powers of the OLC;

b.Compensation arrangements and limits;

c.Whether an appeals process is required;

d.The conditions and level of respondents' fees.


Short submissions of 6 pages or fewer are preferred; longer submissions should include a summary. Annexes may be submitted, but will not necessarily be published.  Relevant material prepared for other purposes (such as reports or submissions to other inquiries and consultations) may be submitted to the Committee for information, but will not be printed.

[Please note: all previous responses to the Government’s White Paper The Future of Legal Services: Putting Consumers First are already available to the Committee.]  Witnesses who submit original written evidence may be invited to give oral evidence at Westminster; transcripts of such sessions are published. 

Evidence should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled, and should be set out in numbered paragraphs. If drawings or charts are included, we ask that these are black-and-white and of camera-ready quality. The submission should be signed and dated, together with a note of the author’s name and status and whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis. Submissions by e-mail are preferred (as attachments in Word), with a signed, hard copy to follow.  Please ensure that you include relevant contact details.  These will be removed before publication.

Evidence and inquiries should be addressed to:

Kate Lawrence
Clerk to the Joint Committee on the Draft Legal Services Bill
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
and preferably by email to DLSBill@parliament.uk

Tel: 020 7219 8675; Fax: 020 7219 4931

The deadline for submitting written evidence is 15 June 2006.

Once submitted, evidence submitted becomes the property of the Committee, and may be published. Witnesses may publicise their written evidence themselves, but in doing so should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.

 You can follow the inquiry via the Committee web pages, accessed from www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/jcdlsb.cfm

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a direct copy.