26 February 2013Print This Post

Law Society set for confrontation with ICAEW over ABS application

Law Society: call for level playing field

The Law Society will challenge the application by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to become an alternative business structure (ABS) regulator, Legal Futures can report.

The society said it will insist on an equivalent separation of regulation and representation to that required of it and the other legal regulators under the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) internal governance rules.

In December the ICAEW submitted to the LSB its application to become a regulator of probate services and ABSs.

It plans a twin-track approach to allow accountancy firms to handle probate work. They could become authorised firms – in which all principals and owners are individually authorised to conduct probate – or licensed bodies (the formal name for ABSs), in which not all principals and owners are authorised for probate.

Chief executive Michael Izza has also confirmed that it will seek to become a will-writing regulator should the government back the LSB’s recommendation that the work become a reserved activity, so that accountants “can continue to provide these services in future under ICAEW regulation”.

A Law Society spokewoman said: “Whilst the Legal Services Act 2007 allows for multiple regulators and licensing bodies to operate within the legal services market, it is critical, both for legal professionals seeking to compete in that market and for the clients that they serve, for there to be a level playing field of provision.

“High regulatory standards must be maintained across the board and the risk of regulatory arbitrage must be minimised. Amongst other issues raised, we are particularly concerned that the ICAEW’s application does not appear to propose an equivalent separation of regulatory and representative functions as has been required of other professional bodies within the sector. We will be highlighting our concerns to the LSB and the statutory consultees in due course.”

The ICAEW had no comment.


By Neil Rose

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sign up to our free e-newsletter


One Response to “Law Society set for confrontation with ICAEW over ABS application”

  1. This two tier system could be a disaster for clients as they will not understand the difference. It is time for a proper regulator with teeth not the SRA which is subordinate and tolerated at best by the law society.

  2. JJComment on February 27th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Leave a comment

We encourage you to be part of the Legal Futures community but please note that all comments will be moderated before posting. We draw your attention to clause 5 of the Terms and Conditions of the site, which deals with user-generated content.





Legal Futures Report

 

This first Legal Futures Special Report, in association with Thomson Reuters, examines the changing face of City law firms. It demonstrates how far City law firms have moved in a relatively short period of time, mainly (but not exclusively) in response to the recession and the demands of their clients.

Legal Futures Blog

Time to get mobile

Lisa Middleton

Using mobile for online access has been steadily growing and has featured in a few trend predictions before, but 2015 will truly be the year that you must go mobile to retain and attract customers. For the first time, shopping transactions made by mobile outstripped desktop in 2014’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday activity.

December 18th, 2014