The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is consulting on a series of minor amendments to its Standards and Regulations following feedback from stakeholders since the rules were introduced in 2019.
The amendments address areas where, once live, the new rules have either had unintended knock-on consequences or feedback from the profession suggests they need changing to provide clarity.
In some cases, the amendments formalise positions already clarified through guidance or waivers to specific rules granted to individual firms.
The amendments focus on changes which remove or amend impractical or unduly time-consuming requirements, while still making sure the public are protected. They cover areas including:
- firms reclaiming costs paid out on behalf of the client
- firms managing bank accounts run on behalf of clients
- allowing solicitors to more easily do pro bono work or administer oaths or statutory declarations outside of their employment
- when indemnity insurance requirements apply for solicitors working in non-regulated bodies
Other amendments tackle technical issues relating to the SRA Accounts Rules, the authorisation of owners of authorised bodies and the glossary terms in the regulations.
Paul Phillip, CEO of the SRA said:
“When we introduced the new rules, the aim was to get rid of unnecessary and burdensome prescription and focus on what matters – high professional standards.
Feedback so far suggests the approach of putting more trust in a solicitor’s professional judgement is working well and has been positively received. Firms have also really valued the extra flexibility our rules allowed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are, however, a few small areas where we have had feedback that the rules would benefit from amends to make them work better in practice. We have listened and these proposed changes will help make sure our rules aren’t creating unnecessary burdens or having unintended consequences.”
Consultation on the proposed amendments will run until 8 March.