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Application Stages

Most applications follow the steps below.

  1. Applicants should verify the types of business and services we regulate are the extent of the services they intend the proposed business to provide. Once confirmed, email the CLC Licensing Team on outlining key information about the business you intend to set up, listing:
      1. the reserved and non-reserved legal activities the business intends to offer; and
      2. the owners and their qualifications (if applicable); and
      3. the key personnel and their intended roles; and
      4. general information about the business, such as the source of set up funds (e.g. corporate or personal funds/sources of work)

  1. Applicants are invited to attend a virtual meeting with the CLC Licensing Team when the CLC is satisfied in principle that the following can be met,
      1. the regulatory structures of a CLC Recognised Body (RB) or ABS Licences; and
      2. the principle Authorised Persons, and Key Personnel occupational experience; and
      3. the business proposition is sufficiently developed and can demonstrate compliance with the CLC regulatory objectives.

Meetings are held on Microsoft Teams. They are typically one hour and with the exception of October are available within 3-4 weeks of a request. It is important that owners and managers attend this meeting because we will be discussing the investment and governance elements of your application and the associated authorisations and licences required for any key personnel. We will discuss the financial and regulatory viability and sustainability of the proposed business. In addition, we will explain the application process together with what we expect from you.


  1. Preparing the information to support an RB or AB licence application. Familiarise yourself with the CLC guidance documentsLicensing Outcomes. Risk Agendas. Post Qualifying Experience. Annual Licencing Fees.


  1. Obtain a PII quote from a CLC Participating Insurer. Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements. PII Brokers and Insurers


  1. Expression of interest. Email listing all Beneficial Owners, Officers, and Managers (definition of Managers and BOOMs), provide email and contact numbers. Nominate a MLRO. ABS applicants should nominate a HoLP and HoFA. Ensure applicants can meet the CLC’s Occupational Experience Requirements .

  1. Confirming application types and fees. We will email you to confirm the various application types and costs. The total value of fees is dependent on the nature and scale of the applications involved. Application Fees. At this stage we may make additional enquiries on applicants with more complex ownership and investment structures to ensure that the AML and BOOM screening processes has been appropriately identified. This is when we will identify the appropriate level of source of funds, and wealth checks that we consider appropriate to the nature of the investment and ownership structure presented.

  1. Pre-Eligibility and completeness review checks are completed before the CLC determines whether it is willing to accept an application. The practice and all associated individual applications are checked at this stage. Any that do not contain all mandatory supporting information will be considered incomplete and returned to the applicant. Any incomplete sole practitioner licence applications, and HoLP/HoFA/MLRO applications will undermine the viability of the associated practice licence application. The pre-eligibility and completeness checks start when all individual applications have been received. Therefore, late submissions will delay this stage of the process concluding.
  • Specific requirements for licence holders and managers
  • Recognised Body owners are required to become CLC Lawyers. Requirements.
  • Alternative Business Structures (ABS) must have a HoLP and HoFA and any investors and owners (material interest), and officers of the legal entity will be required to make applications to be Authorised as CLC Registered Managers.


  1. Declare adverse information. Applicants must declare, and then substantiate the facts of any declared adverse information including satisfied and spent adverse events. The absence of documentation to substantiate a declared adverse event, and any satisfied or spent adverse event, will render an application incomplete. This may include obtaining documentation from third parties in advance of applying.
  • Fit and Proper Persons. This test applies to all applicants. In the event that an Authorised person is seeking to be a sole practitioner/sole proprietor they must also apply to be a CLC lawyer and the body application will be dependent on their ability to fulfil the CLC lawyer Licensing Framework.  In which, prospective applicants that have not held a CLC licence before, must satisfy the CLC that they are 1 (C) a fit and proper person to practise as a CLC lawyer (see item 8.22 of the Licensed Body (ABS) Licensing Framework for an overview of the type of factors taken into account when applying the fit and proper test); comprising identity, financial, sanctions and criminality screening checks, and regulatory and disciplinary checks. See CLC Guidance for Practice Registrants.


  1. Application acceptance and review. If you application is accepted, we will ask you to pay all the associated practice and individual application and screening fees. Application reviews are completed in 90 days. This starts from the date we email confirming receipt of payment of application and screening fees.  Typically, our application review enquiries fall into three areas:- finance, governance and compliance. The CLC does not routinely provide progress updates. Please do not email us to request and update as we will not be able to respond to your enquiry.


  1. The Licensing decision. Once the accepted application has been reviewed a Licensing Recommendation is then put before the Licensing Panel. The Licensing Panel is made up of a least two members of the Senior Leadership Team. The recommendation outcome is focused on an assessment of the ability of the owners, managers, and key personnel to provide compliant legal services and manage the risks associated to the legal services.


  1. Informing you of the outcome of your application: We will confirm the CLC’s licensing decision by email. If the application is refused, we will write to you to explain the basis of our refusal. You have the right to Appeal. How to APPEAL. When an application is granted, there will be a number of steps to complete before a practice licence and any associated individual authorisations can be issued.

  1. The post decision process include applicants finalising the following (not an exhaustive list, for indication purposes only) and can take up to 3 weeks.
      1. Acceptance, and inception of PII on a date before the licence is issued.
      2. Evidence of the payment of the PII premium.
      3. Payment of annual licensing fees
      4. Evidence of office and client account provisions.
      5. Branding, and trading as styles.
      6. CLC Secure Badge

  1. Agree a date to incept the practice licence and individual authorisations.  This can only take place once the post decision actions have been satisfactorily completed.

  1. Licence grant and issue. The CLC will publish the practice on its Public Register, and when appropriate ABS rand FCA registers. Applicants receive a copy of the licence and formal letters of notification.