News release

SRA responds to ABS consultation

We have responded to the Government's proposals to increase competition in the legal services market.

The Government announced in July that it wants to implement changes to make it easier for alternative business structures (ABSs) to enter the legal services market in England and Wales. ABSs allow those who are not lawyers to own or invest in firms.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: "We welcome the Ministry of Justice's proposals to remove unnecessary restrictions for ABS wanting to enter the legal services market. All the evidence suggests ABS are good for competition and improving choice, while posing no greater regulatory risk. Research shows that they are more innovative than traditional firms, being up to 15 per cent more likely to introduce a new legal service.

"With the backdrop of the uncertainty of Brexit, these type of reforms are vital to make sure our legal services market is as open and competitive as possible. Stripping back unnecessary bureaucracy will not only help our economy grow and attract international investment, but also benefit the public through making legal services more accessible and affordable.

"By moving away from an onerous one-size-fits-all approach to approving ABS, we can be much more targeted. This will help us encourage innovation, while still making sure the public is protected."

Read our response to the consultation

Read the ministerial statement on the government's proposals

Read the consultation: 'Legal services: removing barriers to competition'

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