Separate business and unbundling legal services 2019
Separate business and unbundling legal services 2019

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Separate business and unbundling legal services 2019
  • Comparison to 2011 regime
  • The concept of reserved legal services
  • Offering a wider range of services via your SRA-regulated law firm
  • What is a separate business?
  • Solicitors working in a separate business
  • Maintaining your independence
  • Referring and dividing work with a separate business
  • Transparency
  • Confidentiality
  • more

The SRA Standards and Regulations permit law firms and legal service providers to restructure their business in a number of ways depending on whether they provide reserved legal activities. The options include:

  1. single SRA-regulated entity (law firm, alternative business structure or recognised sole practice), providing reserved and non-reserved services

  2. SRA-regulated entity providing reserved legal services with some or all non-reserved services provided by a separate non-SRA regulated business (which crucially can employ SRA-regulated solicitors)

  3. non-SRA regulated entity providing non-reserved legal services only, employing SRA-regulated solicitors

The SRA Standards and Regulations also introduce a new way of practising: ‘practising on your own’. This permits solicitors to act on a solo or freelance basis in certain circumstances. See Practice Note: Dealing with freelance solicitors.

This Practice Note provides guidance for law firms on operating a separate business, to include dividing a client’s matter between the law firm and separate business, which will involve unbundling legal services. It reflects the primary legislation, the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA 2007), and the SRA Standards and Regulations, in force from 25 November 2019.

This Practice Note reflects guidance issued by the SRA in 2015, in relation to parts of the separate business regime that do not appear to have changed significantly, eg around transparency, informed consent and confidentiality. This guidance appears to have been removed from the SRA’s