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Step forward for ICAEW legal services regulator role

The Legal Services Board (LSB) decision to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that ICAEW should become an approved regulator of five reserved activities, has been called a “positive step”.

Commenting on the decision Duncan Wiggetts, ICAEW’s Executive Director of Professional Standards, said: “The recommendation by the LSB is a positive step for consumers looking for reserved legal services who want to use appropriately qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountants firms as an alternative to traditional providers. The LSB’s decision is evidence of the role that it is playing in transforming the provision of legal services and giving more choice to the consumer.”

The reserved legal services are:

  • Conduct of litigation*
  • Rights of audience*
  • Reserved instrument activities*
  • Notarial services
  • Administration of oaths

* Restricted to taxation services only

The decision by the LSB follows ICAEW becoming an approved regulator of probate services in 2014. Currently more than 280 firms have been approved to provide probate services. Should the application be approved, ICAEW will be the first legal regulator and licensing authority to regulate all six reserved legal activities and the second approved regulator for notarial services since 1533.

At the same time, ICAEW has welcomed the recommendations made by the Competition and Markets Authority in its Legal Services Market study. Wiggetts said: “Following the review a number of recommendations were made by the CMA in their report last December, and a course of action has been agreed by the regulators and will be in place by the end of the year. These actions for ICAEW’s part include participation in the Legal Choices website, sharing data in a national register and setting out pricing guidelines for probate.

“This is a positive step in the provision of legal services and giving more choice to the consumer.”

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