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ABS countdown | Referral fee ban creates more confusion for ABSs

With about 400 LDPs due to passport to ABS status and the referral fee ban looming Stuart Bushell wonders whether 
the SRA’s authorisation process is up to the job

2 November 2012

The SRA’s controversial ban on ?referral fees in personal injury cases, which was foreshadowed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), is due to come into force in April 2013, and the regulator recently published its latest consultation on the subject.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) acknowledges that there is scope for interpreting LASPO in different ways and “some lack of clarity” about which business practices and models might be affected by the ban. Particular confusion surrounds the absence of rules regarding “pooled marketing resources” and payments for services, and one cannot help wondering whether the absence of clear guidance for applicants whose proposed business model could be affected by the ban might be viewed as conspiracy or cock-up.

For most ABS applicants, the requirements are a more detailed version of those to whi...

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