Mark Charter, Rachel Brooks and Simon Holdsworth at the Thrings office in Southampton.
Anglia Research has joined the Association of Probate Researchers (APR) – the professional organisation seeking to ensure that probate researchers adhere to the most robust ethical standards.
Up until now probate research in the UK was unregulated and has not been subject to the independent scrutiny of a supervisory body which is standard for most professions like medicine, law and accountancy.
Anglia Research managing director Peter Turvey said: “The APR is the first organisation to introduce independent regulation to a previously unregulated industry, and we are pleased to become founding members.”
Mr Turvey said: “At present the Heir Hunters Association and the Federation of Probate & Asset Researchers both claim to be the independent watchdogs of the probate researcher industry but they are no such thing because they are administered by self-serving members.”
Membership of the APR, which is a company limited by guarantee, includes the three founding corporate members Fraser & Fraser, Treethorpe and Anglia Research and more than 40 individual members. APR is the only membership body for probate research and heir hunters that is recognised by the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) to which APR members are eligible to join.
The PPR was set up after the Legal Education & Training Review to act as the voluntary regulatory body for legal service providers who work in unregulated sectors.
Mr Turvey said: “The 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.”
Carolyn Lord, commercial and compliance director at Anglia Research, said: “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.”
Anglia said all colleagues involved in probate research and people-finding – will now train for PPR membership, unless they are working towards membership of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
Mrs Lord said: “For our clients, this means that in addition to the guarantees offered by our own code of practice, they will have the reassurance of a culture in which accountability to an independent regulator comes as part of the package.”
The creation of the APR coincides with the recent launch by Anglia Research of a Code of Practice for the appointment of probate researchers by local authorities to help them create a transparent, open and honest tender process.