A review has been ordered by the UK government to look into ways to regulate ‘alternative business models’ that could allow groups like supermarkets and banks to offer legal services through their own legal practices.

The review should shake up barriers on ownership of law firms and could soon lead to expansion into the market of legal services in England and Wales.

Similar ideas have been banded about in the US with little take up but in Australia there are signs that companies are getting keen to invest in legal services.

The review should report at the end of the year.