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Accountants prepare for fresh push into legal services

By Kathryn Higgins

22 July 2016 at 11:23 BST

On Thursday, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) launched an application to become a regulator of five reserved legal services.

Andriy Popov

The latest foray into legal services comes almost two years after the ICAEW secured its status as an approved regulator of probate service providers in 2014. The current application would, if successful, make the ICAEW an approved regulator for conduct of litigation, rights of audience and reserved instrument activities for matters relating to taxation, and could see the institute licensing firms and granting ABS licenses in these areas within 12 months. According to the ICAEW's application to the Legal Services Board, licensing accountants to conduct limited legal taxation work is in the best interest of consumers: ‘Increased competition should reduce fees as services will be provided in one place. At the moment solicitors are seeking expert help from accountants to assist with the advice and assistance that they give to their clients.’ The application also cites research conducted by the ICAEW which finds that the work already being carried out by accountancy firms would be well complemented by further reserved legal services. The Legal Services Board will have one year to reach a decision on the application.

Sources: Legal Futures; Law Gazette


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