SRA Handbook

Change to the composition of a partnership

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

Rule 24: Change to the composition of a partnership

24.1

Authorisation of a partnership may continue despite a change in its composition, subject to Rules 24.2, 24.3, 24.4 and 25.

24.2

If there is a change to an authorised body, which is a partnership, which results in there being:

(a)

no remaining partner who was a partner before the change the authorised body must cease to practise from the date of the change; the 28 day period under Rule 23.1 does not apply;

(b)

only one remaining principal whose practice needs to be authorised as a recognised sole practice but could not reasonably have commenced an application in advance of the change:

(i)

the firm may continue to practise provided that the remaining principal:

(A)

is a solicitor or REL;

(B)

notifies the SRA within seven days;

(C)

is granted temporary emergency recognition under Rule 25 below;

(ii)

during the initial 28 day period, or such extended period as the SRA may allow, under any such temporary emergency recognition, the remaining principal must:

(A)

cease to practise, and notify the SRA; or

(B)

commence a substantive application under these rules for authorisation as a recognised sole practice, or if the remaining principal has taken on a new partner, as an recognised body or a licensed body, as appropriate;

(c)

an authorised body which will continue but one or more of the former partners intend to carry on as a separate firm, which must be authorised as an authorised body, but the principal(s) in the new firm could not reasonably have commenced an application for authorisation in advance of the change:

(i)

the new firm may practise from the date of the change provided that the new firm:

(A)

is a partnership which complies with Part 3 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules in its formation, composition and structure, or is a solicitor or REL sole practitioner;

(B)

complies with the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules;

(C)

notifies the SRA within seven days; and

(D)

is granted temporary emergency authorisation under Rule 25 below;

(ii)

during the initial 28 day period, or such extended period as the SRA may allow, the new firm must:

(A)

cease to practise, and notify the SRA; or

(B)

commence a substantive application for authorisation;

(d)

a failure by:

(i)

a recognised body to comply with Rules 13.1 and 16.1 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules; or

(ii)

a licensed body to comply with Rules 14 and 16 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules,

the firm must cease to practise.

24.3

Following a partnership change under Rule 24.2(c), the SRA will if necessary decide which of the groups of former partners will continue to be covered by the existing authorisation and which must apply for a new authorisation, and may apportion authorisation fees and Compensation Fund contributions between the groups.

24.4

Any decision made under Rule 24.3 will be without prejudice to the outcome of any legal dispute between the former partners.

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