SRA reviews Separate Business Rule

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have announced they are reviewing the Separate Business Rule (SBR) to make it easier for solicitors to own businesses providing other professional services to clients.

A consultation has been launched this week outlining the proposals for amending the rule to level the playing field between traditional solicitors, alternative business structures (ABSs) and unregulated service providers.

The SRA sought initial views on this matter when they consulted on the changes made to licensing MDPs as ABSs. Respondents – including the Law Society – were generally in favour of reform, as long as the SRA ensured that consumers still enjoyed the right levels of protection.

Crispin Passmore, Executive Director for Policy, said: "We made a commitment on May 7 as part of our Regulatory Reform programme to change the rules to make it easier for MDPs to add law to their portfolio. Making changes to the Separate Business Rule will allow solicitor firms to make the opposite move.

"All sizes of solicitor firms will benefit from having the flexibility to diversify and work across regulatory boundaries. This in turn will create increased competition, and ultimately that will benefit consumers."

The consultation is available at www.sra.org.uk/consultations. It closes on 12th February.

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