ICAEW invite comment on the CMA Market Study: The Supply of Legal Services in England and Wales

ICAEW welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Market Study into the Supply of Legal Services in England and Wales: Statement of Scope published by Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 12th January 2016, a copy of which is available from this link.

ICAEW hope to work further with the CMA on this important study, and be able to contribute a reasoned analysis of our experience, taking account of the views of all their members. This has not been possible in the short time during which the Statement of Scope has been open for comment.

This ICAEW response of 4th February 2016 has been prepared by the representational arm of ICAEW, and reflects consultation with the Business Law Committee which includes representatives from public practice and the business community. The Committee is responsible for ICAEW policy on business law issues and related submissions to legislators, regulators and other external bodies. ICAEW understand that their regulatory arm has responded to this opportunity to comment independently.

ICAEW was granted status as a accrediting body for the reserved legal service of probate in August 2014, and since that time has both authorised accountancy firms and also licensed them as Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) for probate services. They have currently accredited over 200 firms for probate services, most of which are small or medium sized practicing firms.

The majority of ICAEW member firms are still prohibited from providing any reserved legal services, but they invariably provide advisory services which come within the definition of other legal services. This includes giving front line advisory services to many SME clients (who frequently have a close working relationship with their accountant) as well as individuals seeking advice on their tax and other financial affairs.

ICAEW is a world-leading professional accountancy body. They operate under a Royal Charter, working in the public interest. ICAEW’s regulation of its members, in particular its responsibilities in respect of auditors, is overseen by the UK Financial Reporting Council. ICAEW provide leadership and practical support to over 146,000 member chartered accountants in more than 160 countries, working with governments, regulators and industry in order to ensure that the highest standards are maintained.

ICAEW members operate across a wide range of areas in business, practice and the public sector. They provide financial expertise and guidance based on the highest professional, technical and ethical standards. They are trained to provide clarity and apply rigour, and so help create long-term sustainable economic value.

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