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Probate News 4 - February 2018

Welcome to Probate News 4; your update containing the latest probate technical guidance and best practice advice. In this issue access pricing transparency recommendations, ethical considerations for probate practitioners, your views on a probate online community, DBS changes for new AIs and the Probate Committee is recruiting.

Pricing transparency recommendations

Page last updated

9 February 2018

In December 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published the outcome of their review of the market for the supply of legal services. The report indicated that the market is not as open and competitive as it should be. A series of recommendations were made to both the Ministry of Justice and to the legal services regulators (including ICAEW) as to how to improve the visibility of the services.

Since the CMA published the report, it has been working with the regulators and the Legal Services Board to develop action plans as to how to effect the changes needed. ICAEW as a legal service regulator has been a participant in these discussions, and we will publish our plan shortly on icaew.com/probate. 

A key element of the plan is the development of best practice in the communication of pricing on firm websites and in client care letters. In the next few weeks we will review our probate licensed firms for their approach to disclosure of pricing for the supply of legal services, and evolve from that a best practice guide. In the short term you may find it helpful to review how pricing disclosure is applied within your firm and make peer comparisons with other accountancy and legal firms to see how this might be best approached.

Other initiatives on this will include participation in a nationwide register for legal services (similar to that currently in place for audit) and in consumer guidance through our own web pages and our participation in Legal Choices, a consumer guidance website jointly sponsored by the legal regulators.

The changes provide an opportunity for ICAEW probate firms to promote and compete with other legal services providers on a more transparent and competitive scale, where we believe our firms have the edge in pricing and quality. Further developments in these areas will be communicated to you in future editions of Probate News and through our Quality Assurance team on their visits to you.

Ethical considerations for probate practitioners

Access a recent ICAEW article which looks at areas of ethical consideration including principles based Code of Ethics, safeguards and objectivity in the supply of probate services. 

Would you like a probate online community?

We’d like your feedback – do you think it would helpful if ICAEW set up a probate specific online community? If so, what would you like it to cover? Access the forum to share your views before 20 March 2018. We’ll share the findings in Probate News, issue 5.

DBS changes for appointment of new authorised individuals 

The appointment of an authorised individual using the Regulation 4.1c route now requires the DBS check to be processed through GOV.UK rather than DBS Scotland. 

Help us maintain high standards of practice – apply now

We are recruiting for ICAEW members to serve on our Probate Committee. If you have the experience to help us maintain and support high standards of practice and professional conduct within this area and would like to serve on the committee, we’d be delighted to hear from you. The application closing date is 28 February.