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More Big Changes for the Legal Services Market?

The legal services market might be heading towards further deregulation, spurred by two projects launched by the Ministry of Justice. However, it has been suggested that these initiatives could yet result in Will writing becoming a regulated activity.

The first initiative is a post-legislative assessment of the Legal Services Act 2007, which is intended to explore whether the legislation is being implemented as initially planned. The purpose of the review will be to enhance focus on the way policy aims are implemented and delivered, to ensure better regulation as well as recognise and promote good practice in the field. The assessment, however, will not repeat policy arguments voiced at the time when the Bill was passed and should not require resources that appear to be "disproportionate." The ministry will approach stakeholders to help with the review and will collect the information gathered during the assessment in a report which will be presented to the Justice Select Committee.

A second initiative introduced by the ministry, running simultaneously with the post-legislative assessment, is an internal review of regulatory measures. The aim of this project, which is still in its early stages, is to simplify the regulatory framework for the industry and to investigate areas where improvements can be made. The form of the review is yet to be clarified, with further steps to be outlined in due course.

The ministry's plan to consider how to simplify the legal services regulatory landscape was first suggested by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling, in a statement revealing his decision not to make Will writing a reserved legal activity, as recommended by the LSB. The Lord Chancellor did say he would still "consider whether it might be appropriate to bring Will writing within the scope of legal services regulation."