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LSB Abandons Attempts to Get "General Legal Advice" Reserved

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has abandoned attempts to determine whether the government should amend its list of reserved legal activities to include general legal advice, but has suggested it could seek to exclude probate from the list.

The move comes several months after Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling decided not to make Will writing a reserved legal activity, as recommended by the LSB, which made the board believe that general legal advice might never fall under regulatory oversight.

In February, when the LSB recommended to the Lord Chancellor that Will writing should be made subject to regulation, it did not propose changes to the existing list of reserved activities to remove probate, saying it had not found evidence to warrant such an amendment. But in its new paper, the board now considers that the "the case for probate activities being reserved is weak, far weaker than for Will writing." The board goes on to say that it will determine its stance on probate after completing its own study examining the cost and complexity of regulation.

The board said it had also planned to issue a list of statutory guidelines to regulators to ask them to come up with a set of requirements for all firms engaged in Will writing, but eventually decided that this would be the same as asking them to regard Will writing as a reserved activity, despite the government decision not to regulate the service. The LSB has instead agreed to approach regulators to ask them how they will be dealing with the risks arising from Will writing.