Applications to be accepted from 3 January

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority has fired the starting gun for law firms wishing to turn themselves into alternative business structures, under the Legal Services Act 2007 (which is known as ‘Tesco law’).

The authority said it would begin accepting ABS licensing applications from 3 January 2012 - the first working day after the New Year.

SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said: “We welcome the news that we will become an ABS licensing authority from 23 December. This is a milestone that we have been working towards for nearly two years. It means the public can have confidence that ABS providing reserved legal activities will be regulated according to the same rigorous professional standards as traditional law firms.”