Accountancy firms set for further expansion into legal market

The regulator for accountants is making a further play at expanding its presence in legal services.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has applied to become an approved regulator and licensing authority for five reserved legal activities.

The application restricts the organisation to taxation matters in conduct of litigation, rights of audience and reserved instrument activities.

If the ICAEW is successful in its application it could be authorising firms and licensing alternative business structures in these areas within a year.

The ICAEW already regulates 225 providers of probate services, having become an approved regulator in 2014. The latest application would give it significantly more investment in legal services regulation and potentially create greater competition for law firms already providing tax advice.

The application, made following a three-month consultation with the accountancy profession, is made to the Legal Services Board and a decision is expected within 12 months.