SRA authorisation of firms and ABSs 2011 [Archived]

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

  • SRA authorisation of firms and ABSs 2011 [Archived]
  • SRA's status
  • Authorisation by activity
  • Required systems
  • Required roles
  • Authorisation process
  • Regulatory objectives and other factors
  • Regulatory objectives
  • Pre-conditions to granting authorisation
  • Reasons for refusing authorisation

SRA authorisation of firms and ABSs 2011 [Archived]

The SRA has three core operational functions: authorisation, supervision and enforcement.

The authorisation function deals with applications by:

  1. firms (including sole practitioners) for authorisation to provide legal services

  2. individuals for:

    1. admission as solicitors under the Admission Regulations

    2. approval as managers, owners or compliance officers of firms

The SRA has developed a specialist team within its authorisation function to work with those who are interested in applying to become an ABS. The ABS team is the point of contact for all enquiries relating to ABSs.

SRA's status

The SRA authorises and regulates:

  1. solicitor practices in its capacity as an approved regulator

  2. ABSs in its capacity as a licensing authority

A licensing authority is an approved regulator that has been granted additional powers by the Legal Services Board to regulate ABSs.

Authorisation by activity

Upon authorisation, a solicitor practice will be authorised to conduct the full range of reserved legal activities, whereas an ABS will be granted a licence specifying which reserved legal activities it is authorised to undertake.

Type of bodyAuthorised reserved legal activities
Recognised body (ie solicitor practice including sole practitioner)All of the following reserved work:
—advocacy before a court or immigration tribunal provided the manager or employee exercising the right of audience is authorised by the SRA or otherwise entitled to do so
—conduct of proceedings in a court

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