Will the Rules on ABS for the Legal Sector Be Relaxed?

The news is that the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) will not relax the rules on ABS (Alternative Business Structures) allowing legal firms in the UK to enter into contracts and deals with other businesses.

A paper which has been prepared by the regulator will be discussed at the SRA boards next meeting, a reason cited as being behind an unlikely alteration or relaxation of the law is that it may cause confusion to an already uncertain and in some circles unpopular act.

Instead of a relaxation of the act the SRA is now likely to focus on helping forms and giving them support and guidance with regards to their alternative business relationships.

Guidance issued in July 2009 has stated that firms may be in discussion with ABS potential business partners, this in turn can lead into non binding agreements and the formation of registering a company with domain names.

This does not allow firms to enter into an arrangement that involves selling of services until the act comes into force in October 2011.

Their is nothing set out in the current legislation that would stop an arrangement enabling the transfer of control in the future, so long as it is clear that a definite decision has been made by the firm at the “appropriate moment”.

Again the glibly termed “Tesco Law” will cause a lot of opportunity and confusion to what many perceive to be an industry that has stagnated in terms of adoption of new business models and technology, they are indeed very interesting times for the Legal profession in the UK.