Regulating Clinic: Do UK Clinics Need to Become Alternative Business Structures Under the Legal Services Act 2007?

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In clinical legal education circles we tend to focus on the pedagogical aspects of our work. We enjoy lively debate on topics such as assessment, skills, ethics, student self-efficacy, the role of reflection and balancing the needs of the student with the needs of the client. Rarely do we speak or write about the legal framework regulating the work that occurs in clinics. However, the regulatory landscape is changing, and rapidly. The Legal Services Act 2007 allows organisations that are owned or managed by non-lawyers to provide regulated legal services. It permits and encourages new entrants to the legal services market in England and Wales. It was heralded as ushering in important new opportunities for solicitors to team up with non-lawyers and to attract capital for their businesses in a carefully regulated environment. At first glance, there did not appear to be anything within the framework which affected law school clinics. On closer inspection, this is sadly not the case. The aim of this paper is to increase the level of awareness within the clinical legal education community, in England and Wales in particular, of the effects of the Legal Services Act 2007 on clinical activity. It will explore the background to the introduction of Alternative Business Structures and compare the approach which Australia has taken. It will also look to the future and discuss potential problems and solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Legal Education
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2014


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