ACCA Withdraws From Legal Services Regulation Forming New Partnership

The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) has made the decision to withdraw from legal services regulation and instead is negotiating a partnership with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

Glen Collins, head of technical advisory at the ACCA stated that this would allow 52 ACCA firms accredited for probate work would feel “no impact at all” in moving to CILEx regulation.

With no set date for the move, and negotiations still taking place with CILEX, the ACCA firms are able to access support such as training.

Colins stated; “We will continue promoting the probate sector, and hopefully the number of our firms that do probate will carry on growing.”

The transfer has coincided with the deadline for legal regulators to comply with the stricter internal governance rules (IGRs) by the Legal Services Board, which will ensure their separation from professional bodies. The LSB has allowed the ACCA six months of non-compliance on the basis that it would be applying “for de-designation as an approved regulator of probate services” under the Legal Services Act 2007.

The ACCA became an active regulatory of probate activities in 2018, however it is only permitted to regulate firms where all partners are individually authorised to handle probate work through its training scheme.

As this limited the number of firms that could be regulated by the ACCA, which to remedy would increase the ACCA’s costs and require bespoke governance arrangement, the Association stated:

“Against that backdrop and that the provision of legal services sits as an adjunct to general practice, we believe partnering with another legal services regulator provides a pragmatic and cost-effective way to support practitioners to diversify their service offerings.”

Confident the partnership could offer a number of benefits, Carilyn Burman, chief executive of CILEx Regulation, said it was:

“an opportunity for ACCA probate practitioners join forces with other legal and non-legal professionals as ABSs, which will further encourage competition and diversity within the legal services market”.

CILEx chief executive Linda Ford added:

“This ground-breaking move by the ACCA recognises the need for a different and more collaborative approach to legal services regulation.

“Together CILEx and CILEx Regulation are committed to working with ACCA to ensure the public can benefit from the provision of high quality legal services which enables competition in the legal market.”

“While others are focused on protecting traditional models, CILEx is looking further ahead to build a network of diverse legal professionals who can meet the future needs of consumers.

“Our model of independent regulation through CILEx Regulation and highly practical, business focused route to qualification makes us the partner of choice for those looking for a more modern and relevant approach.”

Dr Helen Phillips, chair of the LSB, said:

“Enhancing regulatory independence has been a long-term strategic priority for the LSB and I am pleased the regulators are now able to confirm they have the appropriate separations in place between regulatory and representative functions.

“This is a significant achievement and means consumers can have increased certainty that decisions made by regulators are independent.”

 

Attributed to Legal Futures.

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