Duration of authorisation

You are reading current version in effect from 25 November 2019
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You are reading current version in effect from 25 November 2019



Firm authorisation - Guidance

Guidance: If you wish to set up a business providing legal services, understand whether the business needs to be authorised by us and how this is done.

Glossary terms


means the Solicitors Regulation Authority

licensed body

means a body licensed by the SRA under section 71(2) of the LSA in accordance with the SRA Authorisation of Firms Rules

approved regulator

means any body listed as an approved regulator in paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 to the LSA or designated as an approved regulator by an order under paragraph 17 of that Schedule


means prescribed by the SRA from time to time


means the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which is an independent statutory tribunal constituted under section 46 of the SA

regulatory arrangements

has the meaning given to it by section 21 of the LSA


means, in relation to a body, a person with any interest in the body, save that:

  1. in the SRA Authorisation of Firms Rules, and the SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations, owner means any person who holds a material interest in an authorised body, and in the case of a partnership, any partner regardless of whether they hold a material interest in the partnership; and
  2. for the purposes of the SRA Principles and the SRA Code of Conduct for Firms means a person who holds a material interest in the body; and
  3. for the purposes of the SRA Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules includes owners who have no active role in the running of the business as well as owners who do,

and "own" and "owned" shall be construed accordingly

interest holder

means a person who has an interest or an indirect interest, or holds a material interest, in a body (and "indirect interest" and "interest" have the same meaning as in the LSA), and references to "holds an interest" shall be construed accordingly



  1. the sole principal in a recognised sole practice;
  2. a member of a LLP;
  3. a director of a company;
  4. a partner in a partnership; or
  5. in relation to any other body, a member of its governing body

means an individual who is:

  1. engaged under a contract of service by a person, firm or organisation or its wholly owned service company;
  2. engaged under a contract for services, made between a firm or organisation and:
    1. that individual;
    2. an employment agency; or
    3. a company which is not held out to the public as providing legal services and is wholly owned and directed by that individual, or

under which the person, firm or organisation has exclusive control over the individual's time for all or part of the individual's working week, save that:

  1. for the purposes of the SRA Financial Services (Scope) Rules, means an individual who is employed in connection with the firm's regulated financial services activities under a contract of service or under a contract for services such that he or she is held out as an employee or consultant of the firm
  2. for the purposes of the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules and the MTC, means any person other than a principal:
    1. employed or otherwise engaged in the insured firm's practice (including under a contract for services) including, without limitation, as a solicitor, lawyer, trainee solicitor or trainee lawyer, consultant, associate, locum tenens, agent, appointed person, office or clerical staff member or otherwise;
    2. seconded to work in the insured firm's practice; or
    3. seconded by the insured firm to work elsewhere,

    but does not include any person who is engaged by the insured firm under a contract for services in respect of any work where that person is required, whether under the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules or under the rules of any other professional body, to take out or to be insured under separate professional indemnity insurance in respect of that work

and the term "employer" is to be construed accordingly


means the Legal Services Act 2007

relevant insolvency event

occurs in relation to a body if:

  1. a resolution for a voluntary winding up of the body is passed without a declaration of solvency under section 89 of the Insolvency Act 1986;
  2. the body enters administration within the meaning of paragraph 1(2)(b) of Schedule B1 to that Act;
  3. an administrative receiver within the meaning of section 251 of that Act is appointed;
  4. a meeting of creditors is held in relation to the body under section 95 of that Act (creditors' meeting which has the effect of converting a members' voluntary winding up into a creditors' voluntary winding up);
  5. an order for the winding up of the body is made;
  6. all of the managers in a body which is unincorporated have been adjudicated bankrupt; or
  7. the body is an overseas company or a societas Europaea registered outside England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the body is subject to an event in its country of incorporation analogous to an event as set out in paragraphs (a) to (f) above

occurs in relation to an individual if:

  1. the individual is adjudged bankrupt;
  2. a debt relief order has been made under Part 7A of the Insolvency Act 1986 in respect of that individual; or
  3. the individual has entered into an individual voluntary arrangement or a partnership voluntary arrangement under the Insolvency Act 1986.

means the exercise of the powers specified in section 35 of and Schedule 1 to the SA, or section 9 of and paragraphs 32 to 35 of Schedule 2 to the AJA, or section 89 of and paragraph 5 of Schedule 14 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, or section 102 of and Schedule 14 to the LSA


means a person who has been admitted as a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and whose name is on the roll, save that in the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules and the MTC this includes a person who practises as a solicitor whether or not the person has in force a practising certificate, and also includes practice under home title of a former REL who has become a solicitor



includes a body of persons (corporate or unincorporated)


includes a sum in lieu of interest