Posted in For Relatives, For Solicitors
Anglia Research has joined the Association of Probate Researchers (APR) – an organisation that we believe represents the first serious attempt to bring independent regulation into an unregulated industry.
Probate research is unregulated. In other words, it does not have a supervisory body that maintains standards and defends the public interest in the same way as, say, the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the General Medical Council, both of which were established by Act of Parliament.
Solicitors and doctors understand what independent regulation means, and would find it laughable if a single law firm or medical practice set itself up to police, or speak for, their entire profession.
That’s why we were sceptical when in 2011 the Heir Hunters Association, a private business, set up the Federation of Probate and Asset Researchers as a so-called industry watchdog. We were even more unconvinced when last year another heir hunting business – Finders – established a new arm of its company structure, using the trading name of the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers, Genealogists & Heir Hunters.
However, when research firm Fraser and Fraser set up APR, we immediately saw its potential to transform our industry for the better.
A huge first step towards independent regulation
Crucially, APR is recognised by the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), an organisation that was set up as a result of the Legal Education and Training Review to act as the voluntary regulatory body for legal service providers who work in unregulated sectors.
APR has signed up to voluntary regulation by the PPR, making it the only professional body for probate researchers that has access to an independent complaints procedure and compensation scheme – both of which are essential if we are serious about offering our clients reassurance and protection.
Accreditation for paralegals
At Anglia Research, accountability is important. We employ more accredited genealogists* and legally qualified staff than any other UK probate research company. These members of staff are all governed by the strict rules of their accrediting or regulating body.
Now, membership of APR provides us with the opportunity to recognise and extend our team’s expertise as legal service providers whose work touches on many areas of probate and intestacy law.
Nineteen members of our team now hold current paralegal practising certificates and are regulated by the PPR.
Our more recently recruited team members – all talented graduates or people with proven investigative skills – will work towards PPR membership, unless they are working towards membership of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
For our clients, this means that in addition to the guarantees offered by our own code of conduct, they will have the reassurance of connecting with a culture in which accountability to an independent regulator is fundamental.
APR is a company limited by guarantee, a common constitution in the not-for-profit sector. Its members include the three founding corporate members Fraser & Fraser, Treethorpe and Anglia Research.
Anglia Research’s CEO, Peter Turvey, who will take a directorship with APR, commented, “The APR is the first and only body to introduce independent regulation to a previously unregulated industry, and we are pleased to have been pivotal in securing a robust constitution for this new organisation.”
Welcoming Anglia Research to APR, the association’s founder Neil Fraser said, “Anglia Research have put a huge amount of background work into APR to ensure that it meets their standards and this will benefit all of the members."
*members of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA) and Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI). For more details, please see our accreditation page.