LSB revises PCF rules to increase transparency

The Legal Services Board (LSB) today published revised Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) rules, and supporting guidance for approved regulators, following an eight-week consultation.

Practising fees are paid to an approved regulator for the cost of regulation and for some non-regulatory activities.  An approved regulator may only require the payment of a practising fee if the LSB has approved the level of that fee.

The changes outlined today are to:

  • Rule 10 of the PCF Rules which sets out the criteria against which the LSB will assess any application for approval of a PCF, and
  • Rule 11 which describes the evidence that the LSB will require when considering an application against the criteria when an increase in PCF is proposed.

Following the consultation, the LSB has made one further change. It is to make clear that the approved regulator must provide clarity and transparency on the use of financial resources to ensure that the LSB has all the information it needs to assess impact on the level of the fee.

The Legal Services Board’s Chief Executive Neil Buckley said:

The Legal Services Board believes strongly in the importance of transparency in relation to regulatory costs.  We use our oversight role to help control and where possible reduce costs to both the profession and to the public.

The Practising Certificate fee (PCF) rules are there not just to help the LSB assess applications relating to the level of the PCF but also to contain requirements that ensure approved regulators are clear about the proposed fees and the budgets that determine them.

As the LSB’s cost of regulation project identified, improved levels of financial transparency by the regulators could help address low awareness amongst legal services providers about the cost of regulation.

We believe that the emphasis in these revised rules on providing clarity on financial resources is an important factor in helping the LSB make decisions on fee levels.


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