Response: SRA consultation on Alternative Business Structures Fee Structures

By: Simon Pugh  Published: April 2011


The Solicitors Regulation Authority is applying to become a Licensing Authority for alternative business structures (ABS) under the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA). The principle that the SRA has adopted to the development of the regulatory framework for ABS is that consumers of legal services, whether from traditional firms or ABS, should enjoy the same levels of service and regulation.

Summary

While Shelter supports the broad principles outlined in the consultation, we consider that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) needs to be mindful of the particular circumstances of special bodies and in particular their charitable and not for profit status in fixing the licensing fees. It should use its powers under the Legal Services Act to vary the licensing regime for special bodies in such a way as to set the licensing fee for those bodies at a level that is commensurate with their ability to pay and the degree of risk they present. 

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