We had already established that there was a definite appetite among practitioners to offer certain legal services to clients and, in particular, a clear demand for us to be able to regulate individuals and firms for probate activities. The introduction of regulatory arrangements for probate activities will not only deliver member value, but it is also a positive development for the accountancy profession.

It will be seen as increasing competition in the legal services market, and improving access to justice, both of which will benefit consumers and advance the public interest.

What this consultation covered

As part of the process of gaining approval from the LSB, we launched a consultation on its draft application, and sought feedback from a variety of stakeholders.

The draft application provided a comprehensive overview of our regulatory framework and processes, including aspects relevant to probate activities. It explained how we will authorise individuals and firms to carry out probate work, and the regulatory and disciplinary procedures necessary to meet the requirements of the Legal Services Act 2007 and the LSB. 

Responses to the consultation

We received 24 responses to the public consultation from ACCA members in practice. The Competition and Markets Authority declined to provide a formal response, but advised ACCA that it had considered the draft application and provided some comment to the LSB. The Legal Services Consumer Panel and the Lord Chief Justice did not provide formal responses, and no comments were received from other approved regulators.

The members that responded to the consultation were strongly supportive of ACCA’s application to gain approval of our regulatory arrangements for probate activities. Some raised specific queries relating to their eligibility for probate authorisation. As these queries were specific to those respondents, they have not impacted on the final application.

ACCA submitted its final application to introduce approved regulator regulatory arrangements for probate activities to the LSB on 23 October 2017.