Legal Profession: Business

Justice written question – answered on 13th December 2012.

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Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson Liberal Democrat, North Cornwall

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to increase the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to the legal services market.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

A new licensing regime for Alternative Business Structures (ABS) became fully operational on 6 October 2011. Under this new regime, different types of lawyers can work together and with other professionals as one entity to provide a range of legal and non-legal services. ABS also gives all firms, including smaller firms, the opportunity to take on valuable new expertise to help their businesses grow and innovate.

To date (12 December 2012), 43 licences have been issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, while the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has issued 16 licences. The licences issued so far highlight the diversity of the organisations that are embracing the opportunities of the ABS regime ranging from small high street firms to large organisations like the Co-operative Legal Services.

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