News release

SRA Chair says more open legal market will boost Welsh economy

Our Chair has told Welsh MPs that a more open and competitive legal services market will benefit the public, the profession and contribute to Welsh economic growth.

Enid Rowlands, who is herself based in Wales, spoke last night at an event for Welsh Parliamentarians hosted by Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, which was attended by Conservative, Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs.

In her speech, Enid Rowlands said: "A growing, competitive economy - like Wales - needs a growing, competitive legal sector.

"As the largest regulator in the legal sector in England and Wales, we regulate around 450 firms in Wales, with a total turnover in excess of £380m, and nearly 5,000 individual solicitors. We regulate in the public interest. And it is in the public interest to see a thriving legal sector in Wales, offering more choice and supporting the economy.

"Our programme of reform is helping to encourage new firms and models into the market. And we're supporting firms looking to find new, innovative ways of providing services to consumers. One change that could help us make a big difference is the recent government proposal to make all legal regulators fully independent.

"The public deserves good regulation and the profession deserves good representation. But these don't live well together.

"Research shows that around seven out of ten people would trust a solicitor more if they were independently regulated. Change to make regulators independent would increase public confidence, and allow us to reduce costs and do things faster and more efficiently. That would be good news for the public, the profession and the whole Welsh economy."

Alun Cairns MP said after the event: “The UK has a worldwide reputation for its excellent legal services, and Wales plays an important part in maintaining this. From Cardiff Capital Region’s burgeoning legal services centre, to our internationally renowned Law Schools, the legal services sector plays a huge role in the Welsh economy.

"I was delighted to host this reception at the House of Commons and to highlight this important success story.”

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