The Law Society of Upper Canada is consulting on Compliance Based Entity Regulation. Writing from a jurisdiction that adopted this approach 5 years ago it might be worth making a couple of points.
First, it think Ontario is asking the right questions. In England and Wales the entity debate became occluded by the ABS debate. They are very separate questions and need to be considered on their own merits. Indeed the quality of debate in Canada generally is excellent as the recent Prairie Law Society Paper here demonstrates.
Second, it is all about balance. With hindsight we probably went too far with the entity regulation and the general direction of travel here is a move back towards the individual. At the core of the legal profession are individual lawyers who need to be personally responsible for their actions and indeed inactions. Personal responsibility drives good behaviour more effectively than collective or entity responsibility. Just look at the financial services market for that. However, in a modern legal market something is missing if legal entities are not also regulated as the LSUC paper makes clear. It is not an either or choice and getting that balance right between the individual and the entity is the key issue.
Consultation on Compliance-Based Entity Regulation The Law Society’s Task Force on Compliance-Based Entity Regulation is seeking input from lawyers, paralegals and others on options for a proactive approach to regulation. Proactive regulation may serve the public interest by helping lawyers and paralegals improve their practice standards and client service.