The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect.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

SRA Handbook

Composition of an authorised body

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 06/12/2018. 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.