Section 209: Transitional and transitory provision
500.This section introduces Schedule 22, which sets out provision made to avoid regulatory gaps during the transitional period between the current and new regulatory systems.
501.Paragraphs 1 to 4 create a transitory power, similar to the power at section 69, for the Lord Chancellor to modify the functions of “designated regulators”, such as the Law Society and Bar Council, and other relevant bodies, such as the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. This power will apply before the Board is established and therefore able to make recommendations under section 69. These provisions therefore set out different procedures for the making of an order, including the requirement at paragraph 3 that the Lord Chancellor invite the Lord Chief Justice and the Office of Fair Trading to provide advice on the draft provisions. Sub-paragraph (5) of paragraph 2 sets out the purposes for which orders may be made. These are similar to the purposes for which orders may be made under section 69 of the Act. Any orders made will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure by virtue of section 206(4)(u).
502.Paragraph 5 makes provision for the possibility that, before the principal provisions of the Act come into force, additional bodies will be designated as “authorised bodies” under section 27 or 28 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (bodies which can grant persons rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation), approved under paragraph 4 of Schedule 9 to that Act (bodies that can grant exemptions from prohibition on preparation of probate papers etc) or prescribed for the purposes of section 113 of that Act (bodies whose members are entitled to administer oaths etc). Paragraph 5 ensures that provision can be made in relation to these bodies, by order, which is equivalent to that already made by the Legal Services Act 2007 for bodies designated, approved or prescribed under these statutory provision before the beginning of the pre-commencement period.
503.Under the provision made in Schedule 17, the membership of the Conveyancing Licensing Council is to be appointed, where at present it is “elected or nominated”. Paragraph 6 makes transitional provision to ensure that the Council’s membership as “elected or nominated” under the present arrangements will continue to exercise the Council’s functions until such time as a new Council is appointed under the new arrangements. Schedule 17 to the Act repeals the provision in the Administration of Justice Act 1985 that provides for the endorsement of conveyancing licences. Paragraph 7 provides that endorsements of licences made under that provision will continue to have force until the expiry of the licences in question, notwithstanding the repeal of the enabling provision.
504.Paragraph 9 makes provision for the ordinary members of the Board to exercise the Board’s functions under Schedule 1 and Schedule 15 in advance of the Board’s Chief Executive being appointed. For example, the ordinary members of the Board are able to appoint the OLC without waiting until the Board’s Chief Executive has been appointed.
505.Paragraph 10 makes provision for the appointment of an Interim Chief Executive of the OLC by the Lord Chancellor. Sub-paragraph (2) states that the Lord Chancellor will determine the terms and conditions of the appointment. Sub-paragraphs (5) and (6) provide for the Interim Chief Executive to incur expenditure and do other things in the name of and on behalf of the OLC, including appointing staff and making arrangements for assistance. Sub-paragraphs (7) and (8) require the Interim Chief Executive to comply with supervisory directions made by the Lord Chancellor and subsequently by the Board. Sub-paragraphs (7) and (8) ensure appropriate lines of accountability between the Interim Chief Executive and the Lord Chancellor in the first instance and then, once appointed, the Board.