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Access to Justice Act 1999

B.Provision of legal services (Part III – sections 35-53)

13.Part III of the Act reforms the law on lawyers’ rights of audience before the courts and rights to conduct litigation; and makes changes relating to complaints against lawyers. It:

  • replaces the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct with a new Legal Services Consultative Panel;

  • provides that, in principle, all lawyers should have full rights of audience before any court, subject only to meeting reasonable training requirements;

  • reforms the procedures for authorising further professional bodies to grant rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation to their members; and for approving changes to professional rules of conduct relating to the exercise of these rights; and

  • gives additional powers to the Law Society and the Legal Services Ombudsman to strengthen the system for handling complaints against lawyers, and creates a Legal Services Complaints Commissioner to set targets for the handling of complaints by the professional bodies.

14.Part III also provides for applicants for appointment as Queen’s Counsel to be charged a fee; establishes a system of practising certificates for barristers; amends the law on the fee payable for a solicitor’s practising certificate; and abolishes the monopoly of the Scriveners’ Company of the provision of notarial services in and around the City of London.

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