Dr Julian Lonbay on Assuring the competence of legal service providers in England and Wales

Birmingham Law School Senior Lecturer Dr Julian Lonbay recently gave a paper at the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) Symposium on Assuring competence in a changing legal services market that took place on July 11 in Manchester

Dr Lonbay's paper was entitled Assuring the competence of legal service providers in England and Wales -  European dimensions and comparisons.

LETR is a joint project of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and  ILEX Professional Standards (IPS). It constitutes a fundamental, evidence-based review of education and training requirements across regulated and non-regulated legal services in England and Wales. The legal services sector is experiencing an unprecedented degree of change. 


The modes of authorisation, and delivery of, legal education and training, and the regulation of legal services providers, varies considerably amongst the thirty-one Member States of the European Economic Area. On top of this cacophony of national (and sub-national) authorisation schemes and attendant regulatory regimes are sets of European Union regulatory norms that bind all the national professions and the Member States. There is also a European non law dimension that impacts, softly, on the delivery of education and training for lawyers (and others).

The presentation outlined key features of a small selection of the existing national structures (out of the 31 countries) that regulate the education and training of legal service providers and the delivery of legal services themselves. It looked at the liberalisation of the delivery of legal services according to EU law and will examine how several national regimes have sought to assure competence whilst facilitating the cross border delivery of legal service providers. Finally it  looked at the issue of activity-based regulation in the context of EU rules on access to partial professional training and partial access to professional activities. 

How might the European Single Market impact on the re-structuring of the regulation and training of legal service providers in England & Wales? Are there European limits to reform? Is there scope for developing common rules relating to training for legal service providers?

Dr Lonbay's presentation (PDF)