The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has submitted an application to become a regulator of five reserved legal services, although the institute is restricted to the area of taxation in three of these.
Two years ago, ICAEW received approval to become a regulator and licensing authority for probate, and the institute currently regulates 225 probate services providers.
Should this application to the Legal Services Board (LSB) be successful, within a year ICAEW could be granting Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licences, as well as licensing companies. The institute could then regulate conduct of litigation, reserved instrument activities, and rights of audience.
The provision of reserved legal services was opened up to practitioners and competition, rather than being solely for lawyers, through the Legal Services Act 2007, enabling ICAEW and others to apply to provide reserved legal services.
“As an experienced regulator I am confident ICAEW will ensure its members and firms provide excellent reserved legal services to the public,” said Duncan Wiggetts, ICAEW Executive Director of Professional Standards.
“The application follows the successful authorisation and licensing for probate by ICAEW and promotes the Act’s objectives of widening consumer choice in the legal services market and of protecting the consumer through effective regulation.”