Apply for initial recognition of a new partnership (Form RB1)
Last updated 12 February 2013
Applications for authorisation as a recognised body can now be made under the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011. The SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 replace the SRA Recognised Bodies Regulations 2011. Any organisation applying under the Recognised Bodies Regulations 2011 whose application is received after 31 March 2012 will need to resubmit their application under the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011.
The key changes to expect on the new RB1, RB2 and RB3 forms are outlined below.
Key changes to expect
Under Part 4 of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 we will deem a solicitor with a current practising certificate (PC) or an Authorised body as suitable to be a manager or owner if the criteria set out in rule 13.2 of the SRA Authorisation Rules is met.
If there is a condition on the solicitor's PC or authorisation as appropriate, preventing or restricting them from being a manager, owner or interest holder of an authorised body or being a sole practitioner then the solicitor or authorised body will not be deemed approved and will be subject to the Suitability Test.
The following proposed managers or owners will not be deemed approved and will be subject to the Suitability Test.
- Registered foreign lawyers
- Registered European lawyers
- Other lawyers
- Exempt European lawyers
- Legally qualified bodies that have not been authorised by the SRA
An authorised body must at all times have a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and a Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA). Individuals who will be designated as the COLP and COFA should be nominated in the application. The SRA may approve an individual's designation as a COLP or COFA if it is satisfied, in accordance with Part 4 of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011, that the individual is a suitable person to carry out his or her duties.
When considering whether a manager or owner should be approved, the SRA will take into account the criteria set out in the SRA Suitability Test and any other relevant information.
Application forms which include managers or owners who do not meet the deemed approved criteria will contain questions relating to the character and suitability of the candidate. Please note that a candidate who is subject to the Suitability Test may be asked to undertake a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. If this is required we will send you a standard CRB disclosure application form for them to complete. Further more information see the SRA Suitability Test.
Once you have completed your application please return it to the Authorisation Directorate at the address provided in the application. Once the SRA has received your application it will be allocated to an Authorisation Officer for assessment.
For all applications under the Authorisation Rules, we expect 95 per cent of our decisions to be made within 12 to 16 weeks. However please note rule 5 of the Authorisation Rules confirms that "the decision period is the period of six months beginning with the day on which the application is made to the SRA in accordance with these rules". Under rule 2.2, an application is considered made once the SRA has received all of the documentation, information and payments relating to that application.
Only those individuals and firms that meet the SRA's criteria for approval (including the requirements to be suitable and capable of providing legal services to the required standard) will be authorised. The decision period reflects a period in which firms and individuals can provide us with sufficient information to enable us to make a judgment whether to approve any person or body as a manager and/or owner.
We will continue to review our processing times and service levels and will update this page as appropriate.
Please use www.sra.org.uk/rb1 to link to this page.