Accountants: the PII implication of providing legal services

By Jonathan Watmough

On 11 December 2013, the Legal Services Board (LSB) approved the application of the Institute of Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to become a regulator of legal services. As the accountancy body with the largest UK membership, this represents a significant step forward for the profession as a whole. But what sort of professional indemnity insurance (PII) issues are likely to face practitioners contemplating accreditation and their insurers?

A foothold in the legal services sector is neither a new nor a surprising aspiration for accountants. Not only is the legal sector estimated to be worth some £23bn, but the services it provides frequently overlap with those of accountants.

Realising this in the 1990s, it was the big accountancy firms that set about establishing affiliated legal practices. Subsequently, however, and with the exception of PwC Legal (the only ‘big four’ branded law firm still operating in the UK), most of these died out…

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