BSB given go ahead to license ABS’s

BSB won approval yesterday to regulate ABS’s ( alternative business structures) in a move that will heighten competition among legal profession regulators for lawyer business.

The Bar Standards Board announced that the overall regulator in England and Wales, the Legal Services Board, had approved its application. The final remaining step is a formal order from the lord chancellor.

BSB-licensed ABS’s will allow lawyers and non-lawyers jointly to own and manage businesses that provide reserved legal activities. It advances the present position where BSB-regulated “entities” can include lawyer partners, regardless of whether they are barristers, solicitors or legal executives.

Oliver Hanmer, the board’s director of supervision, said that the LSB’s authorisation was a “testament to our desire to encourage innovation and competition and to improve access to justice within the legal services market”.

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