The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute for Legal Executives (CILEx) will now have powers to license alternative business structures (ABSs) and regulate probate work after their applications to become approved regulators were accepted by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling last week.
Grayling's approval follows the recommendations of the Legal Services Board (LSB) in December 2013 to accept applications from both the ICAEW and CILEx. Both bodies need to wait for the relevant orders to be approved by Parliament before they are able to start licensing firms.
The ICAEW and CILEx will now seek to allow members to offer reserved probate work in addition to the services they currently provide. According to research carried out ahead of the ICAEW's application, some 250 firms, including 150 sole practitioners and 100 larger entities, might apply for accreditation. In the future, the ICAEW also plans to apply for the right to regulate litigation and other legal services.
The decision of the Lord Chancellor was welcomed by Vernon Soare, ICAEW Executive Director, who said that his organisation was the first non-legal body to be granted the right to regulate probate services and license ABSs. Soare hopes that in addition to helping members diversify their portfolio of services, the move would also have a positive impact on competition in the market.