The Intellectual Property Regulation Board

Licensed Bodies

We are now licensed (1st January 2015). For those who like to drill down into the statutory basis for Alternative Business Structures, follow this link:

Legal Services Act 2007

  • Definition of an ABS – see Part 5 and particularly s72  You should note that whilst Part 5 is titled “Alternative Business Structures” the references from then on are to “licensed” and “licensable” body
  • The approval processes required for owners of ABS who have  a “material interest”  – Schedule 13
  • The “Structural Requirements” of an ABS Including the appointment of a Head of Legal Practice and a Head of Finance and Administration- see Schedule 11 Part 2
  • The “Practice Requirements” of an ABS – see Schedule 11 Part 3

NOTE: August 2016  – We have responded to the MOJ Consultation regarding possible amendments to the Legal Services Act 2007 intended to streamline the ABS licensing process: Legal Services- Removing Barriers to Competition – IPReg Response

Yet again we have lobby’ed to be permitted to amend the requirements for practising addresses to enable us to licence ABS in Scotland and Northern Ireland . 

We have prepared some FAQs which may be of more practical assistance:

You can find detailed FAQs on the role of the Head of Legal Practice (HoLP) and the Head of Finance and Administration (HoFA) on the dedicated page.

Finally in 2015 CIPA and ITMA ran a Webinar on the ABS regime offering practical advice. We would just like to confirm that s18 (the “90 day” rule) will only apply after the LSB lifts the general moratorium under which our “ABS like” registrants have been operating since 2010. We, and other legal regulators, are in consultation with the LSB when this moratorium should be lifted.

The webinar refers to the Law Society website in relation to anti-money laundering guidance; you may find this linked page on the IPReg website helpful as a first point of reference.

A follow-up article, “The ABCs of ABS” by Keith Hodkinson, was then published in the ITMA Review.