Not-for-profit providers “should be able to charge” for legal advice
NFP providers: looking for other sources of funding
Law centres and other not-for-profit (NFP) organisations should be allowed to charge for advice to help counter the impact of legal aid cuts and reduced local authority funding, the Legal Services Board (LSB) said today.
Further, their exemption from the alternative business structure (ABS) requirements should come to an end around April 2014, a year later than originally planned.
The Legal Services Act gives transitional protection to so-called special bodies like NFP organisations and community interest companies, allowing them to provide reserved legal activities without a licence.
The LSB is charged with deciding when and how regulation should be applied to them and has today issued a consultation on the way forward. It said that while there is quasi-regulation of some non-commercial advice providers, there is insufficient consumer protection for the risks posed.
“Non-commercial bodies are not ‘risk free’ simply because of the not-for-profit nature of their service. But nor does the possibility that they may decide to offer more commercial services in future necessarily mean that, by doing so, they automatically become higher risk. Rather, it is the nature of the body itself, the services it offers and its client base that determines the risks that regulation should target.” ........................."