A Licensed Legal Services Provider (LP) is new type of business which is licensed to provide legal services to the public. It differs from a traditional legal practice because of who can own the LP. Traditional legal practices can only be owned by solicitors who hold a practising certificate (and registered foreign lawyers), whereas LPs can be owned by other non-lawyers.
The aim is to give wider choice to clients and greater flexibility to solicitors as to how legal services are provided. Like traditional law firms, the legal service provided by the LP are regulated, which means clients can expect the same standards of service, advice and consumer protections. The Law Society of Scotland is responsible for regulating of LPs in Scotland.
The creation of LPs became possible under Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010.
If you have any queries about licensed providers, please contact email@example.com.
The Law Society of Scotland’s proposed Scheme Rules for Licensed legal services providers have been approved by the Scottish Government and the Lord President.
While this marks significant progress in the project timeline, due to a number of external factors, it is unlikely that we will be in a position to begin accepting applications in 2023 as originally planned. The revised launch date is projected to be in the first half of 2024.
We share the frustration of those who are keen to embark in this innovative new business structure but are pleased to have reached such an important milestone. We will continue to work to towards the end goal of enabling solicitors and non-solicitors to set up businesses together to provide legal and other business services to consumers in Scotland and will keep you updated as we progress.
The Law Society of Scotland is the only approved regulator of LPs in Scotland. Approval was granted on application to the Scottish Government. The legislation limits the number of regulators to three.
With the introduction of Licensed Legal Providers, clients could expect to have wider access to legal services. Clients will still be able to expect the same standards of service, advice and consumer protection from LPs as they would from solicitor practices.
No, the main difference is that there are no restrictions as to who can own an ABS in England & Wales. They can be 100% owned by non-solicitors.
If an ABS in England & Wales wishes to operate in Scotland, they would have to meet the criteria for creating an LP, which includes the requirement that at least 51% of the ownership is retained by regulated professionals.
Yes, in respect of the legal services. Part of the regulatory set up for LPs is a robust complaints procedure comparable with the complaints procedure for traditional legal firms. Similarly, all LPs must carry professional indemnity insurance and contribute to the Client Protection Fund.
Not necessarily – solicitor owners and/or owners from specified regulated professions must retain 51% ownership. These investors are known as Qualifying Investors. See Ownership section
A launch date is not yet available, however we expect to open the application process in 2023.
No, the restrictions around ownership do not allow for LPs to be floated on the stock market.
No, the legislation does not allow for law centres or charities to become licensed providers.