23 March 2018
Peers in the House of Lords accepted changes made by the government to the Deregulation Bill which will grant the Council for Licensed Conveyancers the power to license people to conduct reserved probate work without them having to become licensed conveyancers.
Historically, probate work was reserved for solicitors. This was extended to allow licensed conveyancers, regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), to conduct probate work. From August last year, accountants, regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, have also been able to conduct probate work. The proposed legislation will extend the scope of the CLC's authority to license probate practitioners.
Presently, the CLC may only authorise a body or person to conduct reserved probate work if that body or person is already licensed to provide conveyancing services. The Deregulation Bill, if passed, will remove the requirement for a licensed probate practitioner to already be a licensed conveyancer. Those issued licenses will be known as licensed CLC practitioners.
Anne Bradley, chair of the CLC, said that the intention is to deliver benefits to consumers and businesses through improved and enhanced provision of legal services at more competitive prices.
February's legacy alert reported the Legal Ombudsman's concerns over unregulated areas of the legal sector, and highlighted a case study of poor service from an unlicensed probate practitioner. The proposed legislative amendment will have the effect of extending the Legal Ombudsman's remit.