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Review of Legal Services

The Department has launched a consultation on a draft Legal Complaints and Regulation Bill. The Bill is designed to give effect to many of the recommendations proposed by a Legal Services Review Group, chaired by Professor Sir George Bain.

The main recommendations in the Bain report included proposals to reform the complaints-handling system of the Law Society and the Bar Council, the creation of the post of Legal Services Oversight Commissioner to oversee both branches of the profession, and other recommendations relating to competition.

The report was circulated for comment from interested parties in 2007. A draft Bill has now been prepared that will translate the general recommendations contained in Bain into concrete legislative proposals, principally in relation to the complaints handling issues. The draft Bill is now available for comments from interested parties, with the closing date for replies being 14 February 2014.

Further information on both the Bain Review and the consultation can be obtained by contacting Michael Foster, Legal Services Review, 4th Floor, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EG. Tel: 028 9090 9398, email: