Fountain Court Chambers is delighted to announce the publication by Butterworths of the “Guide to the Legal Services Act 2007” which has been co-authored by (amongst others) five of Fountain Court Chambers’ members: Timothy Dutton QC, Michael McLaren QC, Patricia Robertson QC, Katherine Watt and Marianne Butler.

This publication is a complete guide to the new legislation.  It provides the reader with an overview of the Act, a copy of the Act itself, giving indications of how its implementation will change the legal world, explaining how to prepare a strategy to deal with implementation and how one might identify and take advantage of new opportunities arising from the reform.

The Legal Services Act 2007, an implementation of the 2004 Clementi Report, is a radical reorganisation of the regulation of legal services. It ushers in a way by which barristers and solicitors might practice with each other and/or with non-lawyers and professionals from other disciplines, in business structures ranging from, for example, a supermarket setting up a division of their business to provide legal services to customers, to multidisciplinary firms offering law and accountancy services under one roof.

Michael McLaren QC and Marianne Butler co-authored the first chapter which provides an account of the origins of the Legal Services Act 2007.  It identifies where the impetus for the reform came from, and focuses on several of the key conclusions and recommendations contained in the Clementi Report.  The chapter then goes on to discuss the old regulatory framework, the old complaints system and the restrictive nature of the old business structures, and summarises the principal areas of contention that arose whilst the Legal Services Bill made its way through Parliament.

Patricia Robertson QC and Katherine Watts co-authored two chapters. The first of which deals with an overview of the new regulatory framework for legal services introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007, and explains the new concepts such as ABSs (alternative business structures). Their second chapter provides an explanation of the role and powers of the new oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, which was brought into existence by the Act and which has extensive powers over the existing frontline regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

Timothy Dutton QC’s chapter analyses the threat to barristers resulting from the Legal Services Act’s challenges to high street firms and the public sector strategy of bringing advocacy in-house.

Fountain Court Chambers involvement with this new guide comes as a result of the set’s acknowledged expertise in regulatory, disciplinary and commercial law. A number of members’ have been regularly involved during the development of the Act. For example, Timothy Dutton QC, in his role as Chairman of the General Council of the Bar from 2000-9 (having previously served as Vice Chairman from 2006-7), was heavily involved with the Act during its passage through Parliament and Patricia Robertson QC continues to sit on a BSB working group on ABSs, which is currently working on what the BSB’s policy towards these business structures should be and what resulting changes will need to be made to the Bar Code of Conduct.

For further details of the guide and how to purchase a copy please go to