The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) is the official regulatory body for solicitors with a jurisdiction covering both England and Wales. At Bywire, our Within the Law channel will keep you up to date with all the latest SRA news to help keep pace with developments, catch up on case information and ensure you never miss any important announcements.
What does the SRA do?
The SRA is tasked with regulating conduct among solicitors in England and Wales. At the present time it is responsible for the professional conduct of more than 120,000 solicitors and authorised individuals at more than 11,000 legal firms.
Why was it created?
The SRA came into being in ‘07 as a result of the Legal Services Act 2007 to provide independent regulation of solicitors which is distinct from the Law Society. The move came after a report from Sir David Clements in which he recommended bodies holding regulatory, as well as representative responsibilities, should separate those roles.
His recommendations were adopted by the government and the SRA was created to be an independent entity from the Law Society. However, the Law Society continues to be the representative body for Solicitors.
How does it work?
Since its creation, the SRA has overseen thousands of cases relating to professional misconduct by solicitors. During that time, its approach to regulation and enforcement has changed a little. For example, in 2011 it moved from a box tick approach to an outcomes method in a move which required a new set of principles to help it rebuild its regulatory framework.
In 2012, the SRA was tasked with banning referral fees in personal injury cases in which ‘claims management firms’ charge a fee for referring individuals to solicitors. The use of fees was controversial as it often exceeded the amount clients were able to claim as a result of their injury.
How severe are the penalties?
The biggest penalty the SRA has ever handed out is £125,000, which was issued to the payment protection claims company ‘FindmyClaims’ for misleading letters sent out to customers. It was the biggest ever issued to a law firm and the largest by the SRA.
The firm had been found to be issuing plain envelopes with the statement ‘Important information enclosed’ and ‘Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’, which said payment protection insurance could not be hidden from its investigators.
At the time the firm did not have any investigators working for them and no process to verify who was instructing it.
Where can I find SRA News
The SRA issues regular press releases about its activities and developments. You can also find plenty of SRA news and analysis as well as other developments in the legal sector on our ‘Within the Law’ channel right here, on Bywire News.