ACCA to cancel status as approved regulator for probate

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has given notice to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to cancel its designation as an approved regulator in relation to the reserved legal activity of probate.

In 2019, ACCA reviewed its approach to probate regulation in England and Wales in order to assess how best to support members in practice and provide the greatest opportunity for its small business practitioners (SMPs) who wish to undertake legal services, whilst managing the risks posed by potential changes in the regulatory landscape in this area.

In September 2019 ACCA Council approved:

  • ACCA providing a pathway for eligible members to achieve probate (and other reserved legal activities) authorisation from CILEx Regulation (CRL), and
  • ACCA relinquishing its approved regulator status for probate in England and Wales and to ACCA fully exiting legal services regulation.

The CRL pathway, recently approved by the LSB, enables ACCA probate practitioners to continue to offer probate as an ancillary activity to their accountancy work under a similar regulatory framework to that currently offered by ACCA. Our practitioners will also benefit from access to a range of support services, including CPD. Individuals and firms authorised for probate by ACCA will be invited to apply to CRL for probate authorisation in the coming weeks.

Maggie McGhee, executive director – strategy and governance said, ‘We are delighted that the LSB has approved a route for the regulation of ACCA probate practitioners and firms with CRL. The approach approved by our Council and the LSB allows ACCA to meet its stated aim to diversify and innovate in relation to new service lines for SMPs. By partnering with CRL, ACCA will be able to offer a pathway for eligible practitioners to achieve reserved legal activities authorisation beyond non-contentious probate work and, in turn, support practitioners to diversify their service offerings.

‘It also serves to provide a cost-effective means to provide practitioners with a pathway to reserved legal activities work while guarding against the risk that the new obligations imposed by the LSB’s revised Internal Governance Rules will detract ACCA from focussing on its core activities.’

ACCA intends to withdraw all regulatory arrangements for probate activities, effective 1 January 2022. Therefore, ACCA has also applied for approval of alterations to its regulatory arrangements for probate.

In order to give effect to its withdrawal from probate regulation, ACCA will implement changes to the UK annex to the Chartered Certified Accountants’ Global Practising Regulations 2003, including the removal of the Legal Activities Regulations 2018, effective 1 January 2022.

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