The Bar Standards Board has confirmed it will apply to the Legal Services Board (pictured) to become a licensing authority of alternative business structures in the new year, and could approve its first ABS in early 2014.

At a board meeting last week, the bar’s regulator also approved plans to permit entity regulation and allow barristers to practise in partnerships or barrister-only entities from next year.

The current mandatory requirement that only individual barristers may own and manage practices will be softened to a discretionary requirement, to facilitate a situation where a number of barristers within chambers who have formed one-person entities can come together as a larger chambers entity.

Single-person barrister entities will also be allowed, with the barrister fulfilling both the head of legal practice and the head of finance and administration roles.

The cab-rank rule will apply to all entities and authorised persons within entities in the same way that it applies to the self-employed bar.

Among other changes approved by the BSB was a move to allow barristers to conduct litigation provided they can satisfy the regulator that they have the necessary skills and case management system in place.

The board also confirmed that the prohibitions on managing client affairs and referral fees will remain.