The members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) will soon be allowed to provide certain legal services previously restricted to lawyers, the UK government confirmed.
The Legal Services Board (LSB), the body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales, had approved on December 2013 ICAEW’s application to become a regulator of probate services, which relates to the activity conducted in order to administer a deceased person’s estate.
The LSB had also approved the ICAEW’s application to be a licensing authority for Alternative Business Structures (ABS), under the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA).
Aimed at opening up the market of reserved legal services, the LSA introduced ABS, a business model that allows lawyers and non-lawyers to work together in multidisciplinary partnerships.
LSB’s decision was subject to approval from the Lord Chancellor. On 6 March the ministry of justice announced it will endorse ICAEW’s application. An order designating ICAEW as an approved regulator of probate activities is expected soon.
"The order will be laid in Parliament in due course and my officials will keep you in touch with progress," parliamentary under-secretary of state for justice Shailesh Vara informed ICEW chief executive Michael Izza.
ICAEW executive director Vernon Soare said this decision recognises that consumers can receive legal services from appropriately regulated ICAEW Chartered Accountants that are of equal quality to traditional providers.
"Between now and the date when the relevant orders are approved by Parliament, we will be working closely with ICAEW member firms to ensure they have access to the training and support they need to be able to offer these new services to consumers," Soare said.