The Bar Standards Board has approved 15 new businesses providing advocacy, litigation and expert legal advice services.
The regulator said it had received 90 expressions of interest since the turn of year, when it began accepting applications from those wishing to set up BSB-regulated entities.
The BSB does not yet authorise alternative business structures – entities with non-lawyer owners and managers – but is intending to apply separately to the Legal Services Board soon to become a licensing authority.
Oliver Hanmer, Director of Supervision for the BSB, said: “Our aim is to provide those wanting to specialise in advocacy, litigation and specialist legal advice with a specific and focussed regime and today this becomes a reality. We know from our conversations with members of the Bar that there is real enthusiasm for entities regulated by us. I’m sure these 15 are just the beginning.
“Against what is for many a backdrop of uncertainty and change, we hope this will give barristers and other lawyers more freedom to react to changes in the market and to devise new ways of working so as to remain competitive and best serve their clients.”
An entity authorised by the BSB has 21 days from when it receives its authorisation in which to show the board evidence that it has appropriate insurance arranged, without which it cannot provide legal services.
The BSB said the minimum level of cover each entity is expected to have is £500,000 per claim. “However, every entity will be obliged to ensure they have adequate insurance for the nature of their practice (which may be more than the minimum) so as to protect their clients in the event of something going wrong.”