In October this year, ABS’s will be permitted to offer legal services.
This is why ABS’s have become known as “Tesco’s Law” because organisations like Tesco will be allowed to sell legal services.
Given that the biggest shake up of the legal services market is only a matter of months away, one would think that we should all be up to speed on what the legal landscape will look like post October.
Sadly, and I am not alone, I have no idea about who will regulate me and what rules I will have to comply with. I have a vague idea that I can choose my regulator so no longer need to be a member of the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) or comply with their Code of Conduct. But who else is there and what do they require?
Last week the Bar Standards Board (BSB), the current regulating body for barristers, announced that they would be applying to become a regulator of advocacy focused ABS’s and changed their rules to allow barristers to conduct litigation cases.
However, they still intend to keep in place the prohibition on BSB regulated ABS’s from holding client money, which in my opinion is the biggest risk direct access barristers currently face because they can’t take money on account of work and so run the risk of not getting paid for the work they actually produce.
So the BSB are not the body for me because I will not be allowed to take money on account.
What else is there out there? I don’t know yet, because (as far as I know) only the SRA and BSB have announced their intention to apply to become ABS regulators. Very helpful when I have less than 6 months before the likes of Virgin, the Co-Operative, and maybe indeed Tesco, will become my competitors. Maybe I should just do what the majority of my peers are doing and put it from my mind for now, but that conflicts with my SRA obligation of management planning.
But maybe I shouldn’t worry because by the time the SRA catch up with me I may have switched regulator!!
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