ICAEW’s application to become a regulator rejected
The Lord Chancellor, David Lidington MP, has unexpectedly rejected ICAEW’s Legal Services Board backed application to become a regulator and licensing authority for all six reserved legal services
The application, which it was hoped would level the playing field between accountants and lawyers in relation to (inter alia) tax services, was rejected on the basis of concerns over governance arrangements and independence, restricted scope of regulation to taxation services, impact on notarial services and the distinction between taxation services and legal services. Accountants are at a disadvantage against lawyers as they do not have professional privilege and cannot conduct cases in court.
ICAEW executive director of professional standards, Duncan Wiggetts, commented that the ICAEW was “very disappointed” at the lord chancellor’s “unprecedented decision” and struggled to understand the basis on which he has reached it. He stated that he was surprised that the Ministry of Justice had not “seized this opportunity to liberalise and regulate the market for legal services in England and Wales, to encourage more competition and to create better options for the consumer.”
ICAEW is the second largest licensor of alternative business structures.