THE ICAEW has made its application to become a regulator and licensing body for probate services and alternative business structures (ABSs).
The institute’s application is part of years of planning and preparation towards it providing more services that its members can offer. The opening up of legal services came about from new law in 2007, designed to open up the legal market to new entrants.
Alongside probate services, the institute wants to be a regulator for ABS, also known as multi-disciplinary practices, which would contain a mix of lawyer and accountancy partners.
The process should take a year, the institute has previously indicated.
Vernon Soare (pictured), 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.”
Back in 2008 the ICAEW cooled off plans to become a licensing body for probate, over fears that it would suffer disproportionate regulatory costs.
Last year ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza warned the Law Society to update its guidance, which he claimed restricted solicitors and accountants working together.
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Law Society claims that the public interest cannot prove to have been served by the ICAEW's move into probate - and as such should not be used by the institute as evidence to back its push into further legal services
The body will start to accept applications from parties wishing to obtain a partial licence on 1 July 2016