Government seeks new LSB chairman to help ‘reshape legal services’

Raab: The profession owes a debt of gratitude

The government has started recruiting the fourth chairman of the Legal Services Board (LSB), with the Lord Chancellor saying he will play a key role in the ‘overhaul of the legal services’.

The position, currently held by Dr. Helen Phillips, becomes available on April 1, 2023.

The successful candidate, who cannot hire a solicitor, will receive £63,000 a year for an engagement of at least 70 days a year. This has not changed since the LSB’s work began in 2008.

The mandate is four years, renewable for four more.

Writing in the nominee brief, Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab said: ‘Too many people and businesses lack access to the legal services that we know give them better outcomes.

He described the challenges as “deeply rooted”, not all of which lend themselves solely to regulatory solutions.

“However, the LSB intends to ensure that regulation better connects legal services to those who need them through industry-wide collaboration.

“For example, by ensuring that consumers have better access to information about the cost and quality of legal services, people will find it easier to seek legal advice and reward companies that provide high-quality services, transparent and affordable.

“By ensuring that legal professionals have the appropriate skills and ethics throughout their careers, public trust and continued global respect for the legal profession in England and Wales will be built and maintained.

“By promoting an open stance to technology and innovation, new ways of delivering services can enter the market to bridge the gap between providers and consumers.”

Mr Raab said the president would play a key role in “redesigning legal services to better meet the needs of society”.

Key tasks included reducing “significant levels” of unmet legal needs; improve diversity at all levels and support innovation in service design and technology to improve access to justice.
The job description stresses the need for “an independent mindset and resilience in the face of resistance, competing interests and scrutiny from stakeholders and the media.”

The nominating committee will be chaired by Annabel Burns, director of judicial and legal services policy at the Department of Justice. She will be accompanied by Ms Justice Yip, representing the Lord Chief Justice; Catharine Seddon, LSB Senior Independent Member; and independent panel member Jody Chatterjee, who spent 12 years as an independent member of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

The Lord Chancellor or another Minister may request to meet each of the candidates before or after the interview.

David Edmonds served as the LSB’s first chairman for two three-year terms, followed by Sir Michael Pitt, who served only one term after the post was advertised. Dr Phillips took over on an interim basis from May 2017 and was not appointed permanently, for a five-year term, until 14 months later.

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