At yesterday's Legal Futures Regulation & Compliance conference, there was discussion of regulator shopping, with Andrew Hopper QC saying he had clients actively considering moving regulator.
And then today we see it in action: one of the first entities to be regulated by the Bar Standards Board has been set up by a non-contentious solicitor who has not even been licensed to handle advocacy work.
As the snippet below indicates, his reasons are that the bar's insurance and regulatory arrangements are preferable to those of solicitors.
It is an interesting statement of intent by the Bar Standards Board. Hitherto it has emphasised that it would be looking to regulate advocacy focused businesses - its website says: "We will focus on entities that specialise in advocacy, litigation, and specialist legal advice."
And then at the earliest opportunity it goes and authorises an entity that, while providing specialist advice, does not appear to do contentious work.
The game is on.
He told Legal Futures that he wanted Elderflower Legal to be regulated by the BSB rather than the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) because of access to Bar Mutual indemnity insurance and the Bar’s “simpler and more transparent” rules. “They have one handbook, which is relatively easy to read, compared to volumes and volumes of SRA material you need to be aware of – most of which is over the top for a small business.”