The Irish Competition Authority has published its final report on competition in legal services which recommends the establishment of an independent Legal Services Commission with overall responsibility for regulating the profession in a similar manner to the proposed Legal Services Board in England and Wales and in part parallel to the now enacted Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in Scotland. This has been described as a “cut and paste” of Clementi because, as in England and Wales, the Law Society and Bar Council of Ireland would continue to handle the day to day regulation of lawyers but would have to separate their regulatory and representative functions. At the same time, there is already legislation in place to create a Legal Services Ombudsman to oversee the Law Society and Bar Council handling of complaints.
The current proposals allow barristers to form partnerships but do not provide for multi – disciplinary partnerships.
However, the Law Society of Ireland does not appear to accept that this report shall be accepted by the Irish Government and has indicated that there is no evidence to suggest that either the Law Society or the Bar Council has previously regulated in the interests of their members or against the public interest.