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LSB responds to Lord Chancellor’s ICAEW decision

The Lord Chancellor has today announced that he has decided not to accept the recommendation of the Legal Services Board (LSB) that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) designation as an approved regulator and a licensing authority be extended to all reserved legal activities.

Commenting on the review Dr Helen Phillips, Interim Chair of the Legal Services Board said:

‘The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) gives the Lord Chancellor the final decision on designation applications and it is a decision that is his alone to make. The reasons for his decision are set out in his letter.

Our recommendation to the Lord Chancellor reflected our assessment of ICAEW application and the criteria which apply to such designations. The Legal Services Board carried out its statutory role, which was to assess the application in accordance with what is laid out in the Act.’


1. The Lord Chancellors decision letter can be found here.

2. The Legal Services Board made its recommendation to the Lord Chancellor that the ICAEW be designated as an approved regulator and a licensing authority, extended to all reserved legal activities on 26 June 2017. It followed on from the ICAEW’s application in July 2016. That recommendation and the ICAEW’s application and support documents can be found here.

3. In August 2014 the ICAEW was formally granted designation by an approved regulator and licensing authority for probate activities. Information on that decision can be found here.

4. The Legal Services Act 2007(the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.

5. The LSB oversees nine approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the Association of Costs Lawyers. They have subsequently being joined as an approved regulator by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are listed as approved regulators in relation only to reserved probate activities.

6. As at 1 April 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £31 billion per annum (2016) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.