A reserved legal activity is something only a suitably qualified legal professional is permitted to do, by virtue of Part 3 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA).
There are six reserved activities, listed in section 12 of the Act:
- the exercise of a right of audience – the right to appear before and address a court, including the right to call and examine witnesses;
- the conduct of litigation – the issuing of proceedings before any court in England and Wales, the commencing, prosecuting and defending of those proceedings and the performing of any ancillary functions in relation to those proceedings, such as entering appearances to action (indicating your intention to participate in the proceedings);
- reserved instrument activities – preparing any instrument of transfer or charge for the purposes of the Land Registration Act 2002, making an application or lodging a document for registration under that Act; and preparing any other instrument relating to real or personal estate for the purposes of the law of England and Wales or instrument relating to court proceedings in England and Wales;
- probate activities – preparing any probate papers for the purposes of the law of England and Wales or in relation to any proceedings in England and Wales;
- notarial activities – activities which immediately before the day the relevant section of the LSA came into force, were customarily carried on by notaries (a kind of lawyer) under the Public Notaries Act 1801);
- the administration of oaths – exercising powers conferred on a commissioner for oaths under the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1889; the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1891; and section 24 of the Stamp Duties Management Act 1891.
Lawyers carrying on these activities are regulated by the approved regulators in the legal services sector, working under the oversight of the Legal Services Board.