The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.

SRA Handbook

Separate businesses

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 06/12/2018. For more information, please click 'History' Above

Chapter 12: Separate businesses

This chapter deals with your obligations when you have links to a separate business that is not authorised by the SRA or another approved regulator.

You can be a manager or employee of a separate business. However, you cannot practise as a solicitor, REL or RFL in a separate business except as permitted by Rule 4 (In-house practice) of the SRA Practice Framework Rules (see also Rules 1-3).

Clients of a separate business will not have the same regulatory protections as clients of an authorised body and it is important that this is clear to clients of the separate business particularly where they are being referred from the authorised body or cases are being divided with the authorised body.


You must achieve these outcomes:


you ensure, and have safeguards in place to ensure, that clients are clear about the extent to which the services that you and the separate business offer are regulated;


you do not represent, directly or indirectly, the separate business as being regulated by the SRA or any of its services being regulated by the SRA;


the separate business does not carry on:


reserved legal activities; or


immigration work unless that work is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner;


you only


refer, recommend or introduce a client to the separate business;


put your client and the separate business in touch with each other; or


divide, or allow to be divided, a client's matter between you and the separate business,

where the client has given informed consent.

In-house practice

The outcomes in this chapter apply to your in-house practice.