Profession blocked from legal services says ICAEW

Criticisms have been levelled at the legal services bill for not opening up
the market for legal work to be provided by the accounting profession.

ICAEW head of business law Felicity Banks said the bill ‘misses the
opportunity’ to reform the legal services market by not removing additional
regulatory burden upon accounting professionals looking to provide advice in
areas such as probate and trusts.

The bill contains details for the creation of alternative business structures
(ABS) under which different professionals can work together in the provision of
services to clients, albeit under the regulatory framework of the legal
profession. On top of this today’s Joint Committee report into the bill
highlighted concerns that the ABS should only be moved forward ‘cautiously’.

‘The Joint committee report is disappointing in that it, too, has failed to
recognise that the legal profession is one of a number of professions able to
provide services within their capabilities and subject to appropriate oversight.
We believe this is effectively anti-competitive and will continue to press for
more wide-ranging reform when the bill is debated in parliament,’ said Banks.

A spokesman for the House of Lords would not comment on the ICAEW’s concerns.

The report is available at

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