Bar regulator receives approval to license Alternative Business Structures

The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) application to become a licensing authority for alternative business structures (ABS) has been approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB).

This means the LSB will recommend that the Lord Chancellor makes an order designating the Bar Council as a licensing authority. The Bar Council’s regulatory functions are exercised independently by the BSB.

BSB-licensed ABS will allow lawyers and non-lawyers to jointly own and manage businesses that provide reserved legal activities.

BSB Director of Supervision Oliver Hanmer said: “We welcome the LSB’s announcement that our application to become a licensing authority for ABS has been approved.

“It is testament to our desire to encourage innovation and competition and to improve access to justice within the legal services market.”

The BSB intends to commence its ABS application process from October 2016, but this cannot happen until the Lord Chancellor has approved the designation and the necessary secondary legislation is in place.

The BSB will issue further information about this process and the likely timescales for implementation over the coming weeks.


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