The Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 (Number 65 of 2015) was signed by the President on 30 December, 2015.
The Act provides for:
- An independent statutory regulator for all 'legal practitioners' (i.e. solicitors and barristers), namely; the Legal Services Regulatory Authority;
- An independent public complaints regime;
- A new Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal;
- A pathway to new business models for legal practitioners including barrister/barrister and barrister/solicitor partnerships, barristers in employment, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and Multi-Disciplinary Practices;
- A new Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators to replace the current Taxing Masters' Office, together with new measures relating to legal costs;
- Reforms to the granting of the title 'Senior Counsel' and its extension to appropriately qualified solicitors;
- The introduction of a pre-action protocol with the aim of encouraging the early resolution of inquiries into or allegations of clinical medical negligence or, where this is not possible, the shortening of the litigation process;
- Reforms to the regulation of legal services advertising;
- The setting-out of a programme of research and consultations to pave the way for further future reforms covering a range of matters including: the admission policies of the legal profession; the education and training of legal practitioners; the possible unification of the solicitors’ and barristers’ professions; and possible reforms to direct access and the holding of clients' monies by barristers.