The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.
Separate businessesBack to version 21
Version 9 of the Handbook was published on 01/04/2014. For more information, please click 'History' Above
Chapter 12: Separate businesses
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure clients are protected when they obtain mainstream legal services from a firm regulated by the SRA. This is accomplished by restricting the services that can be provided through a separate business that is not authorised by the SRA or another approved regulator.
This chapter addresses two kinds of services:
- those which you cannot offer through a separate business ("prohibited separate business activities"). These are "mainstream" legal services which members of the public would expect you to offer as a lawyer regulated by the SRA or another approved regulator; and
- those which you can offer either through a separate business ("a permitted separate business"), or through an authorised body. These are the kind of services a member of the public would not necessarily expect to be provided only by a lawyer regulated by the SRA or another approved regulator, but which are "solicitor-like" services.
Clients of a permitted separate business will not have the same statutory 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 one business to the other.
You must achieve these outcomes:
you do not:
if you are a firm you are not:
Acting in the following way(s) may tend to show that you have achieved these outcomes and therefore complied with the Principles:
Outcomes 12.1 and 12.3 to 12.6 in this chapter apply to your in-house practice.
It is important that clients are not misled or confused about the regulatory status of a permitted separate business, the services it provides and the people working within it. Particular care needs to be taken regarding:
This chapter should be read in conjunction with:
Chapter 3 (Conflicts of interests)
Chapter 6 (Your client and introductions to third parties); and
Chapter 8 (Publicity).