ICAEW in formal bid to regulate probate and ABS

The ICAEW has submitted its bid to become a regulator of probate services and Alternative Business Structures (ABS).

Should it receive recognition under the Legal Services Act, it will be able to authorise individuals and firms for the reserved legal service of probate and to license firms as ABS.

The Legal Services Act 2007 opens the provision of reserved legal services to competition and enables practitioners, other than lawyers, to become authorised to provide reserved legal services. New multi-disciplinary business structures between accountants and lawyers can also now be set up to provide these services.

The institute is applying to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to become a regulator of ABS as well as the reserved legal service of probate following a recent public consultation.

Vernon Soare, ICAEW executive director of professional standards, said: 'As an experienced regulator I am confident that ICAEW will ensure its members and firms provide excellent probate services to the public.

'As the first professional accountancy body to apply to license Alternative Business Structures, we recognise the importance of widening consumer choice in the legal services market and of protecting the consumer through effective regulation.'

A decision on ICAEW's application is expected within 12 months.

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