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Rights of audience: Law Society secures rule change for IP solicitors

8 January 2014

In response to the Law Society's lobbying, the chancellor of the high court has indicated that judges will permit solicitors to appear in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) as before when it was named the Patents County Court (PCC).

After the conversion of the PCC to the IPEC in October 2013, solicitors who previously practised in the PCC no longer had rights of audience to appear in the IPEC.

The SRA has also confirmed that it will not regard solicitors appearing in the IPEC as being in breach of the rules and will change the regulations to make it clear that solicitors have rights of audience.

The Law Society welcomes this development, without which, solicitors would be less able to serve the needs of their clients and would have to instruct barristers to appear in the IPEC - undermining the purpose of the court, which is to reduce litigation costs.

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