News releases

Single form is next stage in authorisation process

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has today (12 July) launched a single form for those applying for authorisation as either a recognised sole practitioner, recognised body or licensable body (Alternative Business Structure).

In March 2013, the SRA brought together the two teams working on authorisation as it sought to streamline the application process. It developed a more risk-based approach to authorisation to ensure that low risk applications could be dealt with more quickly and easily, while identifying the more complex applications which would require more time.

Firms, entities and sole practitioners seeking authorisation now follow the same process as ABSs, an alignment that continues with the publication of the single form.

Annette Lovell, SRA Director of Authorisation, said: "We are making significant improvements to the way in which we approach firm-based authorisation, underpinned by a much stronger focus on assessing risk. We're already starting to see the impact of these changes which mean that, for example, we are able to deal with lower risk applications much more quickly.

"This new, single form is another big change for us. Applicants are now being encouraged to self-assess risks in their application, because we want to be sure that applicants understand and can manage their own risk. The form is considerably shorter than earlier versions and we hope that this new format will mean that applicants can more easily provide the information we need – which should mean we will ask fewer follow-up questions.

"The new design reflects comments we've had from the profession – and so we’d like to thank those who have given us their feedback.

"We understand that some applicants may already be in the process of completing the application forms previously in use, known as the Licensable Body application, the Recognised Body application (RB1, 2, 3) and Recognised Sole Practitioner application. They will still be able to submit their application in this format up until Monday, 12 August 2013."

As part of its move to a more joined-up authorisation process, the SRA published accompanying guidance for applicants. This included information on preparing and submitting an application, fees, withdrawing applications and how to get further help and advice. The guidance and the form are available here:

A webinar also took place earlier this month for those seeking further information. To watch the webinar, visit

This followed a conference in Birmingham on 4 June, where SRA Executive Director Samantha Barrass used her speech to outline the Authority's approach. The speech can be accessed here: The single form was discussed with attendees at the event and those who signed up to the webinar.

The SRA's Risk Index can be accessed here:

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