The Law Society has backed the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) application to become an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licensing authority.
The Law Society Council has voted in favour today (23 March) of approving the SRA’s application to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to regulate the new business entities which will be brought in as part of the legal services reform when the Legal Services Act 2007 comes into effect 6 October this year.
The news comes after the Law Society had previously questioned the aptitude of the SRA to regulate ABSs under the new regime. This had led to the LSB making some preparations to being able to license ABSs themselves, although these measures were viewed warily by the SRA.
Commenting on the decision, the SRA board chair Charles Plant said: “We are delighted that the application for the SRA to become a licensing authority for Alternative Business Structures (ABS) has been approved today by the Law Society Council. The SRA remains on track to receive applications from potential ABS from August, and to enable the first ABS to operate from 6 October.”
“The application is the culmination of a determined effort by the SRA, working with consumer groups, the Law Society and other professional organisations, the Legal Services Board, and others to deliver a rigorous regulatory system which enables wider choice for consumers while preserving high professional standards. It demonstrates the SRA’s ability to deliver a reformed regulatory system to a demanding schedule.”
Law Society CEO Desmond Hudson commented: “The Law Society believes it is right that we should seek to regulate ABS and we want to be certain that the regulatory framework guarantees the same levels of probity and consumer protection that has been the tradition of the solicitors profession.
“The Law Society Council has examined the proposals from the SRA very carefully and voted to put forward the application to the Legal Services Board.”
Hudson added that the reform will mean that law firms have to consider what the best structure for their business will be and said that it will issue a special practice note on ABSs in May.
- SRA to research solicitors’ professional development
- BarCap global GC takes role on Linklaters business school advisory board
- SRA to investigate lawyers’ role in phone-hacking as Yates drafts in Carter-Ruck for libel action
- Suspension Recommended for Attorney Who Ran Errands for Client at $125 Per Hour
- What You Can Do To Make Sure You Choose the Right Commercial Litigation Solicitor for Your Organisation