Buckinghamshire Law Plus, the first local authority-owned alternative business structure to be granted a licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, was formally launched last night.
The ABS has been set up by Buckinghamshire County Council and the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority.
The two organisations said the new company – the first independent legal practice established by a local authority – had been set up to provide cost-effective legal services for public and not-for-profit organisations.
The formal launch took place at a full meeting of the county council last night (20 November).
Anne Davies, Head of Legal Services at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: "At a time when public sector organisations are still looking to reduce costs in all areas, the launch of Buckinghamshire Law Plus offers some distinct advantages over traditional law firms.”
She said these included access to public law expertise and “significant cost savings compared to traditional law firms”.
Any financial surplus would remain within the county to benefit the community, Davies added.
“The new service is expected to be of immediate benefit to cash-strapped small councils, charities, schools and other voluntary groups,” she said. “It is a win-win situation for all parties.”