Eight solicitors’ practices are working on applications to be regulated as ABSs by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, Solicitors Journal can reveal.
As ABS day dawned today, only one licensed conveyancer, Premier Property Lawyers, obtained a license from the CLC, for a fee of £600. Premier is the licensed conveyancing service of myhomemove, which, according to its website, is “the largest independent provider of conveyancing in England and Wales”.
Simon Blandy, director of standards and legal services at the CLC, said a further 12 licensing conveyancing firms were actively working on ABS applications.
The application fee for organisations not currently regulated by the CLC is £1,200. Blandy said this figure could rise, depending on the amount of time taken to process the application, for example if the ownership structure was complicated.
“We don’t know until we get to that stage,” Blandy said. “There is no ceiling on the fee, but firms will expect us to keep them informed.”
Blandy added that the CLC expected to receive 100 applications for ABS licences by the end of the year, half of them from firms new to the organisation. The CLC is currently entitled to regulate conveyancing and probate services, and hopes to extend this to litigation and advocacy.
As first reported on solicitorsjournal.com, the SRA will not be issuing its first ABS licences until early 2012.
In a separate development, justice minister Jonathan Djanogly heralded a “landmark day for the UK legal industry”.
He went on: “Our legal services are already rated among the best in the world, used by millions of people around the globe as well as in the UK and these changes will set them up to move to new heights.
“Potential customers will find legal services become more accessible, more efficient and more competitive.”