Legal Services Regulation

The UK has one of the world’s most dynamic legal services markets.  It is home to some of the largest legal services providers many of whom have taken advantage of the liberal business structures available.  In contrast to other jurisdictions, England and Wales permits the external ownership of law firms and a wide range of practice structures regulated by ten front line regulators. 

However, the provision of legal services remains highly regulated and it is crucial that any modern legal business, and those that work within them, are able to access advice across a wide range of issues from business structures through to what to do when things go wrong.

Kingsley Napley has one of the leading teams in this area.  Led by Iain Miller, one of the country’s leading experts, we are able to provide support to legal businesses and individuals across the range of regulatory challenges they may face.

Our team is independently and consistently recognised by Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leader in the field of professional discipline and regulatory law.

How can we help?

  • Business structures for firms that are seeking to establish in England and Wales or are considering changing their practice structure to an alternative business structure.  This includes strategic advice on how best to structure the business through to applications for authorisation;
  • Regulatory due diligence for those seeking to acquire or invest in a law firm.  Just like any other business those investing in a regulated legal services provider will need advice on the regulatory issues and any risks they may present;
  • Ethical Advice.  It is sometimes the case that firms and individuals will need to make difficult choices around their duties to their clients, the courts, and the wider public interest.  There may be no right answer.  We can offer independent authoritative advice;
  • Internal investigations and reports.  In even the best run law firms things go wrong.  Responding properly to these challenges can minimise reputational and regulatory risks.  We can help you get to the bottom of what went wrong, advise how to put it right and learn lessons for the future;
  • Advice on whether a matter should be reported to the SRA and drafting notifications.  It is not always clear as to whether a matter needs to be reported to the SRA and if it does how this should be done.  We can provide independent assistance to guide you through the process;
  • Advice on the regulatory aspects of the restructuring and insolvency of law firms.  We have experience in relation to the administrations of Halliwells LLP, Dewy & LeBeouf, Manches LLP, Cobbetts LLP and Davenport Lyons;
  • Representing firms and individuals involved in SRA investigations.  Being the subject of an SRA investigation is hugely stressful.  We have extensive experience on both sides of such investigations and can help in achieving the best possible outcome;
  • Defending individuals and firms before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the High Court. The team has over 20 years’ experience and is able to support firms and individuals through the process.


Recent work

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority v Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and Arslan [2016] EWHC 2862 (Admin) – Standard of Proof to be applied by the SDT in relation to proceedings where it is hearing an appeal from an SRA decision.
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority v Spector [2016] EWHC 37 (Admin) - Whether it was lawful for the SDT to anonymise the name of a solicitor at the end of disciplinary proceedings.
  • Lumsdon and others v The Legal Services Board [2015] UKSC 41 – Challenge by the Criminal Bar Association to the implementation of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates.
  • Hemming v Westminster City Council [2015] UKSC 41 - Whether the Provision of Services Regulations precluded charging for enforcement and other costs as part of an authorisation scheme.
  • Acted for the Bar Standards Board in the drafting of their revised Code of Conduct, Entity Regulation Framework and application to become a Licensing Authority for Alternative Business Structures.
  • Advised the SRA on the regulatory aspects of the insolvency of Halliwells LLP, Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP, Cobbetts LLP, Manches LLP, Challinors and Davenport Lyons.


Legal Services Regulation Comment

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Case update: Nurse succeeds on appeal after Court of Appeal (Scotland) find NMC panel failed to address registrant’s inadequate representation and wrongly accepted methodology put forward by NMC

Case Update: High Court hold that panel of the NMC were unduly lenient in imposing 4 month suspension for dishonest nurse

Case Update: High Court confirms that disciplinary panels should not refer to findings of fact from previous investigations which could taint the panel’s findings in relation to a registrant’s fitness to practise

Case Update: The role of the disciplinary panel when faced with insufficient evidence

Case Update: The Court of Appeal allows Regulator’s appeal and overturns High Court decision to extend the time limit for the Registrant to issue an appeal

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Case Update: NMC’s failure to draft charges that sufficiently reflect the gravity of Registrant’s conduct led to serious procedural irregularity

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Case Update: R (on the application of D) and General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2839

Regulatory Press Round-Up: July 2013

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