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Mobile Doctors Group plc. Alison Crawley. Solicitors Regulation Authority. Introduction. What is an ABS? When does a firm have to be authorised? What different forms/structures are possible? What is the timetable? What is the authorisation process?. What is an ABS? .

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Mobile doctors group plc

Mobile Doctors Group plc

Alison Crawley

Solicitors Regulation Authority


Introduction

Introduction

  • What is an ABS?

  • When does a firm have to be authorised?

  • What different forms/structures are possible?

  • What is the timetable?

  • What is the authorisation process?


What is an abs

What is an ABS?

A ‘licensable body’ must:

  • have at least one lawyer manager;

  • have at least one non-authorised manager or interest holder;

  • provide at least one reserved legal activity; and

  • have an individual designated as its Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLPs) and an individual designated as its (Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA))


Compliance officers

Compliance Officers

The COLP must

  • be a lawyer and a manager or an employee of the authorised body,

  • be of sufficient seniority and in a position of sufficient responsibility to fulfil the role,

  • be designated and approved by the SRA,

  • take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the body’s authorisation (except any obligations imposed under the SRA Accounts Rules) and any statutory obligations of the body, its employees or its managers in relation to the body’s carrying on of authorised activities;

  • report to the SRA any failure to comply,


Compliance officers continued

Compliance Officers continued...

The COFA must

  • be a manager or an employee of the authorised body,

  • be of sufficient seniority and in a position of sufficient responsibility to fulfil the role,

  • be designated and approved by the SRA,

  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that the body any its employees and managers comply with any obligations imposed upon them under the SRA Accounts Rules and report to the SRA any failure to comply.


When does a firm have to be authorised

When does a firm have to be authorised?

  • An ABS needs to be licensed before it can provide reserved legal services.

  • Firms can apply to designated Licensing Authorities to become authorised. The SRA expects to be granted Licensing Authority status in August 2011.

  • Firms authorised as ABS (known as “licensed bodies”) must only carry on those activities they are licensed to provide.


What different forms structures are possible

What different forms/structures are possible?

  • Traditional law firm with external ownership and/or non-lawyer managers or owners.

  • Legal Disciplinary Practice (LDP) with one or more non-lawyer managers, without external ownership, and providing solicitor type services only.

  • Complete or partial external ownership with only the entity providing reserved legal activities, and other legal activities, regulated as an ABS.

  • Multi Disciplinary Practice (MDP) involving combinations of different services within one entity

  • A Public Limited Company.


Possible timetable

Possible Timetable

  • March 2011 – SRA Application submitted to LSB

  • April 2011 – draft SRA Handbook published (needs LSB approval)

  • ?? August 2011 – Application approved by LSB – SRA able to accept applications

  • ?? October 2011 – SRA designated and able to grant licences


What is the authorisation process

What is the Authorisation process?

  • Read SRA Handbook – Authorisation Rules plus ABS guidance.

  • Applications will be on-line – with prescribed application fee.

  • Detailed information will be required on:

    • organisation

    • personnel

    • business practices

    • compliance with indemnity/accounts

    • policies etc.


Authorisation process continued

Authorisation process continued...

  • The SRA Suitability Test will apply to all owners, managers, COLPs and COFAs (known as authorised role holders).

  • It will apply the same high standards to all legally and non-legally qualified applicants for roles in authorised bodies as authorised role holders.

  • The SRA will deem approval to be a manager or owner of an authorised body if the person is

  • - a solicitor with a current PC, or

  • - an authorised body, or

  • - an existing LDP non-lawyer manager


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