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Employed solicitors may soon be able to act for third parties if the findings of the long-awaited report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) are implemented.The high profile report ‘Competition in the Professions’ is calling for a relaxation of the rules preventing employed solicitors acting for people other than their employers.Under present Law Society rules, solicitors employed by non-solicitors are prohibited from acting for any other person.But the OFT report found that the restriction reduced the number of potential competitors in the markets.If adopted, it could allow competition from those suitably qualified working in different business structures, in particular in-house lawyers working at legal expense insurers.It was a submission from motoring organisation the RAC, rather than the expense insurers, that raised this restriction as a potential problem for competition.Eddie Ryan, director of RAC Legal Services, said the organisation was “keen, on its customers’ behalf, to make the service industry as accessible as possible” and that it would continue to press for a more flexible and customer-friendly system.The report calls for wide-ranging changes to the profession. It was published following consultation with a range of professional bodies, industry representatives, leading firms and consumer groups.

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