Review of legal services in Northern Ireland

The Department of Finance and Personnel consulted on a draft legal complaints and regulation Bill. This Bill was designed to give effect to many of the recommendations proposed by a legal services review group chaired by Professor Sir George Bain.

Legal Services Review

The main recommendations in the Bain report included: 

  • a proposal to reform the complaints-handling system of the Law Society and the Bar Council
  • a proposal to create the post of Legal Services Oversight Commissioner to oversee both branches of the profession
  • other recommendations relating to competition

The report was circulated for comment from interested parties in 2007. A draft bill was prepared that translated the general recommendations contained in Bain into concrete legislative proposals, principally in relation to complaints handling issues. The draft bill was available for comment from interested parties until the end of February 2014. The consultation has now closed.

The Department has considered all responses received during the consultation and has undertaken some further work. A detailed analysis of the responses has been produced, and is available below. The minister will now consult with executive colleagues with a view to bringing a draft bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Related documents

More information

Further information on both the Bain Review and the consultation can be obtained by contacting:

Michael Foster
Legal Services Review
7th Floor, Goodwood House
4-58 May Street
Belfast BT1 4NN
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