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In this issue, access our updated engagement letter helpsheet, see what's changed in the Legal Services Regulations, respond to our consultation on proposed probate fees for 2024 and read our review of the Mercia training course.

2024 probate fees consultation

Please review our budget and fee scale and give your view on a proposed increase.

Probate Regulations replaced by the Legal Services Regulations

The regulations have been renamed and updated with small changes to align terminology with ICAEW’s new disciplinary framework, effective 1 June 2023.

Engagement letter helpsheet update

Part 2 Q of ICAEW’s engagement letters helpsheet has been updated to reflect changes to the Legal Ombudsman scheme rules, effective from 1 April 2023. Only sections 3, 3.1.3, 3.1.6 and 3.1.9 have been amended. Firms authorised or licensed to carry out probate services must make their clients aware of the compensation arrangements and complaints process. In the case of the complaints procedure, this should be applied for both legal and non-legal services. Note that the helpsheet package as a whole has not had a full review on this occasion.

HMCTS update on delays in processing probate applications

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) acknowledges that there continue to be delays in the processing of probate applications. At the latest meeting with HMCTS, attended by members of ICAEW’s Regulatory Policy team, other legal services regulators and membership bodies, an update was provided on the issue.

In efforts to address the backlog of applications, HMCTS has recruited and trained c 100 staff. In addition to expanding the team of staff available to deal with applications, HMCTS is encouraging all staff to focus on the oldest applications first. This should help to resolve some of the longest-running cases and going forward, the intention is to deal with applications in date order.

HMCTS also reminded attendees that a new process is in place for summitting PA8B forms, which means the form has to be submitted by post to Harlow. Requests for extensions by email are not accepted and any requests received in letter form rather than on the PA8B form may be delayed.

ICAEW’s Regulatory Policy team will continue to engage with HMCTS on the delays in processing probate applications and provide updates to our firms as the matter progresses.

Webinar invitation: Legal Services Regulatory Update

On 12 September, join a range of speakers for this live update. We will cover:  

  • the latest common issues we are seeing on quality assurance monitoring reviews;
  • a number of regulatory changes that have taken place this year; and
  • a summary of the 2023 Probate Diversity Survey results.

There will also be time for a live Q&A.

Mercia legal services training course review

Accountants seeking to become authorised individuals for probate must demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified. One way that they can do this is to complete the Mercia-provided course for probate, which covers the ICAEW syllabus. As Mercia has been the main provider of probate training for ICAEW-authorised individuals since 2014, ICAEW has undertaken a review of Mercia’s performance as a training provider.

How satisfied are your clients?

Finding out what clients think about your firm helps you improve your services, address any problems early on, and build better relationships. One way of doing this is to carry out regular client satisfaction surveys. We look at why client feedback is so important and provide some tips on how to gather useful data.

Deadline to publish probate diversity survey results was 31 May

All ICAEW accredited probate firms should now have published a summary of their 2023 diversity survey results. If your firm does not have a website, the summary can be published on other documentation eg, as a paragraph in a letter of engagement or in advertising materials. If any questions about the process, please call our Technical Advisory team on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or contact us via webchat.

ICAEW will publish its 2023 Probate Diversity Survey report during the summer. 

Latest news from the Professional Standards Department

CPD is changing

The revised CPD Regulations will place specific responsibilities on ICAEW member firms/other firms from 1 November. Read about the new requirements and the key steps to take in the coming months and find guidance and details that are available on our dedicated web page for you.

Have your say: professional indemnity insurance review

Final chance to give your feedback. Help us ensure PII arrangements provide adequate protection to the public while being mindful of costs to the profession.

Statement on engaging in public practice

In 2024, changes are coming into effect to the statement. 

Duty to Report Misconduct updated

As part of the recent disciplinary framework changes, the duty has been extended to include firms, affiliates and other 'relevant persons'.

Changes to ICAEW's disciplinary process

On 1 June 2023, revisions to ICAEW's disciplinary framework came into effect. We break down what’s changed including updates to the disciplinary and appeals processes.

Regulation in times of change

ICAEW's regulatory and conduct responsibilities are delivered by the Professional Standards Department (PSD). Our role is to strengthen trust and protect the public by following the 3Es: Enable, Evaluate and Enforce. Read more about our strategy, activities, and the oversight of ICAEW's regulatory and conduct role in the Regulatory and Conduct Report 2022–2023.

Strength through diversity: building better committees

Kim Nyawira, Head of Committees and Tribunals at ICAEW, tells us about initiatives to broaden opportunity and diversity to the regulatory and disciplinary committees.

Resources and useful links

Keep updated

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