THE Law Society of Scotland has applied to be the regulator of legal firms which take up alternative business structures (ABS).

If approved by the Scottish Government, the ABS will allow non-regulated professionals to hold 49% of a Scottish firm.

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Austin Lafferty, president of the Society, said new providers would have to go through a robust process to gain approval and would be subject to the same degree of regulation as traditional law firms.

He added: "There has been an enormous amount of work done to get to this stage. While there is more work to be done by us and the Scottish Government, all the indications are that, if the application is approved, the Society could become a regulator by spring next year, with the first LPs (Licensed Providers) expected to be authorised soon after that."