If the institute is recognised under the Legal Services Act, it would be allowed to authorise individuals and firms for the reserved legal service of probate.
It would also be able to license firms as alternative business structures.
The application follows a public consultation earlier this year
The Legal Services Act 2007 opens the provision of reserved legal services to competition and enables practitioners, other than lawyers, to become authorised to provide reserved legal services. This means new multi-disciplinary business structures between accountants and lawyers can also now be set up to provide these services.
The move is partly in response to interest from firms it already regulates in using the ABS to from multi-disciplinary practices with other professionals, including lawyers. At the moment, if they wish to adopt the structure, they have to apply to be regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority with the consequent increase in time and costs of being regulated by two separate bodies.
Vernon Soare, ICAEW executive director of professional standards, said, “As an experienced regulator I am confident that ICAEW will ensure its members and firms provide excellent probate services to the public.
“As the first professional accountancy body to apply to license alternative business structures, we recognise the importance of widening consumer choice in the legal services market and of protecting the consumer through effective regulation”
A decision on ICAEW’s application is expected within 12 months.