SRA Handbook

Composition of an authorised body

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

Rule 16: Composition of a recognised body and a licensed body


Provided that the requirements for all recognised bodies and licensed bodies set out in Rule 13 or Rule 14, as appropriate, are met, a recognised body or an licensed body may have all or any of the following as a partner (if it is a partnership), a member (if it is an LLP), or a director, member or shareowner (if it is a company):


a lawyer of England and Wales (including a solicitor with a current practising certificate);


an REL;


an RFL;


an EEL;


in the case of a partnership or an LLP, a body corporate which is a legally qualified body;


in the case of a company, a legally qualified body, save that only an individual may be a director of a recognised body which is a company;

provided that, where necessary, they comply with the approval requirements in Part 4 of the SRA Authorisation Rules.


If the authorised body is a licensed body, then the list of permitted partners, members of an LLP or, in the case of a company, directors, registered members or shareowners at 16.1(a) to (f) shall include:


a licensed body or another body licensed under Part 5 of the LSA by an approved regulator other than the SRA; and


any other individual or body corporate;

subject to any necessary approval as a manager or owner under Part 4 (Approval of managers, owners and compliance officers) of the SRA Authorisation Rules, save that only an individual may be a director of a licensed body which is a company.


An authorised body which is an LLP must have at least two members.

Guidance notes


See 22.3 below regarding the position of firms which have non-lawyer managers prior to 6 October 2011.


Although a legal services body can have a variety of types of manager, only a solicitor or an REL may be a sole practitioner.


Where, in line with Rule 16, a firm has persons other than solicitors as managers (in particular where European lawyers are involved), any list of the managers will need to:


identify any solicitor as a solicitor;


in the case of any lawyer or notary of an Establishment Directive state other than the UK:


identify the jurisdiction(s) - local or national as appropriate - under whose professional title the lawyer or notary is practising;


give the professional title(s), expressed in an official language of the Establishment Directive state(s) concerned; and


if the lawyer is an REL, refer to that lawyer's registration with the SRA;


indicate the professional qualification(s) of any other lawyer and the country or jurisdiction of qualification of any RFL not included in (b) above;


identify any individual non-lawyer as a non-lawyer; and


identify the nature of any body corporate, if this is not clear from its name.

In addition, whenever an REL (whether or not a manager) is named on letterhead used in England and Wales by any firm or in-house practice, the firm or the employer will need to follow the guidance in (iii)(b) above.

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