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Bar Standards Board opens for ABS authorisations

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has from today begun licensing Alternative Business Structures (ABSs).

The BSB has been regulating lawyer-only owned entities since 2015, but for the first time, the regulator will now be able to license legal services businesses which are owned jointly by lawyers and non-lawyers.

As a result, a new edition of the BSB Handbook, which amongst other things, contains the rules of professional conduct for barristers and entities, has been published today.

BSB Director of Regulatory Assurance Oliver Hanmer said: “We are pleased to announce that we are able to start regulating ABSs. Although we are cautious about the number of ABSs that may choose to be regulated by us, we believe this development encourages further innovation in the provision of legal services. Being a specialist in regulating advocacy-based services, our announcement today allows barristers and other lawyers to partner with other business professionals to bring new skills and fresh perspectives to this sector of the market.”

Anyone considering setting up a BSB-regulated entity or ABS should visit our website for more information.

The latest version of the BSB Handbook is available on our website.

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit:

More about the BSB’s powers to regulate ABSs

An Order recently approved by Parliament designated the General Council of the Bar as a Licensing Authority for ABS. This means that the BSB may now exercise the statutory powers in the Legal
Services Act 2007 to license and regulate ABSs.