How did Unregulated Legal Services come about?
Until the Legal Services Act 2007 (the “Act”) came into force in 2011, law could only be practiced by Solicitors and Barristers who monopolised the profession and charged ever increasing fees. The Act was a major piece of legislation that fundamentally changed the legal landscape in England and Wales. It introduced various reforms which were believed to be necessary to improve and enhance the way legal services are provided – putting consumers’ interest at the heart of the regulatory framework.
A breath of fresh air for the sector.
In short, the Act was introduced to increase competition, flexibility, transparency and to provide choice for consumers of legal services – and lower fees.
In 2014, the Solicitors and Barristers who started 360 Business & Private Client Law chose to provide legal services to businesses and consumers on an unregulated basis, on innovative models that actively force down ever rising legal fees.
Since the Act, only certain legal services must be performed by Solicitors and Barristers, these are:
• the exercise of rights of audience (i.e. appearing as an advocate before a court);
• the conduct of litigation (i.e. managing a case through its court processes);
• reserved instrument activities (i.e. dealing with the transfer of land or property under specific legal provisions);
• probate activities (i.e. handling probate matters for clients);
• notarial activities (i.e. work governed by the Public Notaries Act 1801); and
• the administration of oaths (i.e. taking oaths, swearing affidavits etc.).
All other legal services, across all areas of law can be provided by anyone, and yes, we mean anyone – qualified or not.
Just because we provide unregulated legal services does not mean they are of inferior quality to our regulated legal services (see 360 Law Services). All legal services are provided by our highly qualified and experienced lawyers. Every lawyer we use has either qualified as a Solicitor, a Barrister or an overseas attorney and has gained at least five (5) years of practical experience in their area of specialisation. They simply choose to practice in an unregulated manner. Previously, they were required to practise under the term “Consultant Lawyers”, but on November 25th 2019, the SRA officially approved the use of the protected term “Solicitor” through an unregulated firm.
Since 2014, 360 Business & Private Client Law has grown immensely and is now a global law firm servicing our business clients wherever they trade in the world, and we are the only legal services firm in the UK that provides Subscription Legal Services to businesses on a Global basis.
How does it affect me transacting on an unregulated basis?
Unlike a regulated practice, lawyers practising on an unregulated basis are not answerable to the SRA or General Counsel of the Bar, and do not have to hold high amounts of professional indemnity insurance, both of which significantly increase a law firms overhead forcing up fee rates. Instead, our unregulated practice contracts with clients on mutually beneficial commercial terms, where risk is mitigated, and liability is limited in a manner that is fair. Much the same as any other commercial organisation transacts its business.
The ability to transact business on balanced commercial terms coupled with our low overhead, achieved through a distributed practice model using state of the art technology, means we can deliver high quality legal services at a fraction of the price charged by city and major regional practices, and significantly less than even high street practices.
If you are seeking advice on an unreserved matter, instructing a lawyer through an unregulated practice will certainly lower your fees, and with us, quality will not be affected. That we guarantee.