Separate businesses to 1 November 2015
Separate businesses to 1 November 2015

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

  • Separate businesses to 1 November 2015
  • What is a separate business?
  • Restrictions on providing services via a separate business
  • Systems and controls
  • Policing the permitted separate business

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) restricts the services you can provide through a separate business not authorised by the SRA or another approved regulator. The existing regime does not provide an equal playing field for law firms as against alternative business structure (ABS) firms. This Practice Note sets out the requirements prior to 1 November 2015. There is a separate Practice Note covering the requirements after 1 November 2015: Separate businesses from 1 November 2015

What is a separate business?

Offering services through a separate entity is governed by Chapter 12 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

A separate business is one that is not authorised by the SRA or another approved regulator, ie it is not:

  1. an authorised body (law firm or ABS)

  2. a recognised sole practitioner

  3. an authorised non-SRA firm

  4. an overseas practice (as defined by the SRA Glossary), or

  5. an in-house practice permitted by the SRA Practice Framework Rules

  6. a practice overseas (not defined) permitted by the SRA Practice Framework Rules

Restrictions on providing services via a separate business

You must not:

  1. own or actively participate in a separate business that conducts prohibited separate business activities

  2. be owned by or connected with a separate business that conducts prohibited separate business activities—see: SRA Glossary for definition of terms in italics

By default, this means you can