Fitness to Own
Who should declare
When you apply to own a legal practice you will be required to answer two forms, one about your prior conduct as an individual and one about the conduct of the business, fitness to own.
Approved Managers of existing Authorised Entities
If you already own an Authorised Entity or if you have been authorised by Newcastle Regulation as an Approved Manager you must make a Fitness to Own declaration on all Newcastle and Newcastle Regulation application forms, including the annual returns, or at the time the Fitness to Own conduct occurred, whichever is sooner.
When to declare
You must declare fitness to own on all Newcastle and Newcastle Regulation application forms, including the annual returns, or at the time the conduct occurred, whichever is sooner.
New Approved Managers
You must make a fitness to own declaration on your application form to become an Approved Manager and/or as the owner of the entity you are applying to be authorised. This is in addition to the prior conduct you would declare as an individual applying to become a Newcastle Member, a Newcastle Practitioner or an Approved Manager.
Existing Approved Managers
If you are an Approved Manager, which means you have already gained authorisation from Newcastle Regulation, then you must declare fitness to own each year. In regard to your individual responsibility to declare prior conduct you can find out more information on our Prior Conduct pages.
What to declare
Guidance is available to download here or you can browse on the left-hand side of the page.
Every Applicant or Relevant Person that is not an individual, must declare in writing to Newcastle Regulation if it or any related business (i.e. parent and/or subsidiary) has:
- Been the subject of a resolution for voluntary winding-up passed without a declaration of solvency under the Insolvency Act 1986, s. 89
- Ever entered administration within the meaning of paragraph 1(2)(b) of Schedule B1 to that Act
- Had an administrative receiver within the meaning of section 251 of the Act appointed
- Been the subject of a meeting of its creditors under section 95 of that Act
- An order for the winding up of the entity applying to be authorised, or any related business (i.e. parent and/or subsidiary)
- Had a civil judgement made against it
- Been the subject of any investigation or proceedings conducted by any regulatory or professional body
How to declare
Declarations can be made by completing the form on the left-hand side of the page and emailing it to email or posting it to Newcastle Regulation.
What happens after I make the declaration?
Prior conduct and fitness to own declarations are considered and determined in accordance with the Enforcement Rules which you can download here or you can browse on the left-hand side of the page.
Guidance on the Enforcement Rules can be found in the Enforcement Handbook and the annexes to it. Annex 2 includes guidance on sanctions that may be imposed and factors that are taken into account when making decisions.
Decisions can be made by Newcastle Regulation or by the Professional Conduct Panel depending on the nature of the conduct declared and the type of application being made.
New applicants and existing Approved Managers
If you are a new applicant and have declared prior conduct Newcastle Regulation can approve your application – this is referred to as a Delegated Decision in the Enforcement Rules.
If the conduct that you have declared does not fall within a Delegated Decision the conduct will be referred to the Professional Conduct Panel, the Professional Conduct Panel can:
- approve your application
- refuse your application
- decide to take no action and direct Newcastle Regulation how to deal with declaration
- impose conditions on you in respect of future conduct and (if you are an individual) your employment
- require you to give an undertaking regarding your future conduct
- reprimand (existing Approved Managers only), warn as to future conduct
- refer the matter to the Disciplinary Tribunal as it was an allegation of misconduct (existing Approved Managers only)
Before making decisions the Professional Conduct Panel may seek further information from you or request your attendance.