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 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.

Tags:




    Readers Comments

  • JJComment says:

    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.


Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


Clinical negligence, a changing market – part 1

The consolidation of law firms through merger and acquisition has resulted in fewer, but more sophisticated and expert clinical negligence practices.


How to set your law firm up for success in 2022

At this time of year, law firms around the country are busy strategising and implementing plans for the coming 12 months. Forward-planning is a crucial part of a firm’s success, but where to start?


Are you ready to sign a personal guarantee to secure your indemnity insurance?

Perhaps the most worrying trend we are seeing in the professional indemnity market is the increased scrutiny of the financial position of SME law firms and demand for personal guarantees.


Loading animation