The representative body for chartered accountants has inched another step closer to gaining the authority to license alternative business structures (ABSs).

Parliament agreed yesterday that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has an appropriate appeals process in place to be an approved regulator.

The ICAEW has already had backing from the Legal Services Board to regulate ABSs and a draft order for its application was laid in March.

The new draft orders will provide individuals and businesses that are subject to ICAEW licensing decisions with an opportunity to appeal those decisions through an independent and impartial appellate body.

During a Commons debate, justice minister Shailesh Vara (pictured) confirmed that a further order will be laid in the ‘near future’ to designate the institute as a licensing authority for probate activities, so that it may license ABSs.

Vara said: ‘We believe designating a new regulator that has the appropriate safeguards for consumer protection will help to achieve that, and that the ICAEW will be a capable and effective regulator in the legal services market.

‘Its entry into the field will help to contribute to the growth of the legal services market and bring further innovations, leading to benefits for the consumers of legal services.’

The ICAEW first applied for approved regulator status to the LSB in December 2012.

During the subsequent consultation process, concerns were raised about separating its regulatory arrangements from its function as a representative body.

Vara said the LSB had been satisfied that the institute had in place the safeguards required to regulate authorised bodies and protect their clients.

As well as the ICAEW, parliament agreed to a similar draft order for the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, which have also applied to be approved regulators.

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