10 December 2015

Bar regulator announces consultations on the cost of regulatory activities, including ABSs

10 December 2015

The fees and charges for a number of regulatory activities and Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) are the focus of two separate consultations the regulator has launched today.

In the first consultation, the regulator is consulting on the fees and charges it currently levies on those who use specific regulatory services such as overseas lawyers, education and training providers, and entities.

A survey of 23 questions and supporting information will be disseminated to key stakeholders to enable them to provide the BSB with their views about what is the fairest way to fund the cost of certain aspects of regulation.

The consultation will include the history of how the BSB has been funded and changes that have prompted the regulator to conduct a thorough review.

It asks for input into whether fees and charges should be on a full cost recovery basis (ie the user pays the full cost of the regulatory service they require), whether it should be on a partial cost recovery basis, with some of the cost being subsidised by the rest of the profession via the Practising Certificate Fee (PCF), or whether the PCF should cover the entire cost of all regulatory services.

The regulator asks stakeholders to consider the impact on particular groups, such as women on career breaks for family responsibilities applying for CPD waivers and students on limited incomes.

You can read the Fees and Charges consultation paper here.

You can complete the online survey questions here.

The consultation closes on Monday, 15 February 2016 at 12.00pm.

The second consultation looks specifically at the fees and charges that are being proposed should the BSB be permitted to licence and regulate ABSs in 2016.

The BSB's application to licence ABSs is currently being reviewed by the Legal Services Board.

While the regulator's application is being considered, the consultation seeks comments about the proposed fee structure for ABSs, including application, authorisation and annual fees.

You can read the ABS Fees and Charges consultation here.

The consultation closes on Sunday, 10 January 2016 at midnight.

Commenting on both consultations, Director General Dr Vanessa Davies said: "The BSB wants to make sure that fees and charges imposed are fully accountable, transparent and fairly applied.

"The cost of regulation is ultimately passed onto the end users of legal services and as the regulator, we want to ensure all fees are justified and do not cause an unnecessary barrier to enabling legal services providers to meet the demand for access to justice from the public."

These consultations are quite separate from the one conducted by the General Council of the Bar on 2016 practising certificate fees under s51 of the Legal Services Act 2007.

ENDS

Notes to editors

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