Legal Services Regulation at the Crossroads
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Legal Services Regulation at the Crossroads

Justitia’s Legions

Noel Semple

Through a comparative study of English-speaking jurisdictions, this book seeks to illuminate the policy choices involved in legal services regulation as well as the important consequences of those choices. Regulation can protect the interests of clients and the public, and reinforce the rule of law. On the other hand, legal services regulation can also undermine access to justice and suppress innovation, while failing to accomplish any of its lofty ambitions. The book seeks a path forward to increasing regulation's benefits and reducing its burdens for clients and for the public. It proposes a client-centric approach to enhance access to justice and service quality, while revitalizing legal professionalism, self-regulation, and independence.
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Chapter 4: Tradition and reform in legal services regulation

Noel Semple


Chapter 3 plotted the legal services regulatory regimes of the wealthy common law world along four spectra, representing four fields of policy choice. Figure 4.1 combines the four spectra and uses font to represent geography. North American common law jurisdictions are in italics; other developed common law jurisdictions are underlined. The relative positions of the jurisdictions on these spectra are approximate, and subject to on-going change as regulatory reform continues around the world. Nevertheless, a clear pattern is apparent. North American common law jurisdictions cluster toward the northern end of each spectrum, while those of Europe and Australasia cluster toward the south. This pattern would be trivial if the north–south orientation of each spectrum were arbitrary, but this is not the case. The north pole of this chart will be defined as the professionalist-independent tradition of legal services regulation, because all of these policy choices reflect core values of lawyer professionalism and/or lawyer independence. The professionalist-independent tradition, and the core values which underlie it, are the focus of Parts II, III, and IV of this book. However, the present chapter's focus is the emergence of contrasting legal services regulatory regimes in two parts of the common law world. In Northern Europe and in Australasia, the regulatory regimes have moved away from the professionalist-independent tradition.

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