The Lord Chancellor has today approved the application by CILEx Regulation made on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) to license alternative business structures (ABS).
This will enable members to set up their own businesses with non-lawyer ownership and investment, regulated by CILEx Regulation, the Institute’s independent regulatory arm.
The application was first approved by the Legal Services Board and today Lord Chancellor David Gauke backed its decision. An order will be laid in Parliament in due course to designate CILEx as an ABS licensing authority under the Legal Services Act 2007.
CILEx Regulation Chair Sam Younger says: “This is excellent news. It will allow us to license ABS firms, building on the practice rights and entity regulation that we already offer.
“It will both increase opportunities for CILEx practitioners and deliver a wider choice of regulator for all providers of legal services.
“It recognises too that CILEx Regulation delivers an outcomes-focused, risk-based, proportionate and flexible regulatory regime fit for the future of legal services.”
CILEx President Millicent Grant adds: “Our members are skilled professionals who often have experience beyond the law. They know what it takes to run a successful business. It is right that their firms can bring external investment, advice and knowledge into their ownership.
“This move will also help to encourage competition within the legal services market.”
Those looking at the ABS option were particularly interested in bringing non-lawyer specialists – such as a finance or marketing expert – into the ownership of the business, and unregulated businesses doing unreserved work into regulation, so that they could conduct reserved legal work.
The greater diversity of the CILEx membership means that ABSs are more likely to have a diverse composition.
Millicent Grant says: “We believe that greater diversity of opportunity within the legal market can assist in developing consumer choice and finding better ways to deliver better services.”