First ABSs set to go live in February as SRA approved as regulator

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has received approval to regulate alternative business structures (ABS) and will begin accepting applications in January.

Antony Townsend

Antony Townsend

The watchdog had originally hoped to have an appropriate regulatory system in place when the Legal Services Act was implemented on 6 October (26 July 2011).

However, the implementation date was delayed because the Government had not approved the SRA’s proposed disciplinary process for ABSs.

The order designating the SRA as a licensing authority for ABSs was laid before Parliament today and will come into force on 23 December. The SRA will begin accepting applications on 3 January, with the first successful applicants revealed in the second half of February 2012

SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said: “This is a milestone that we’e been working towards for nearly two years.

“It means the public can have confidence that ABSs providing reserved legal activities will be regulated according to the same rigorous professional standards as traditional law firms.”