SRA rejects claims that guidance is too complicated to follow
The Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) have announced they will be clamping down on firms who are not complying with transparency rules.
The SRA are reviewing firms to see if they are supplying clients with price and service information, such as their employees’ credentials, and also whether they are displaying the SRA digital badge on their sites. The SRA logo confirms whether firms have a practicing certificate.
The Legal Services Board have stated that a number of customers have reported difficulty in finding this information on firm’s sites. The regulator has stated that more transparency is needed so people can make informed choices of which firm they choose.
Following an initial review of 500 firms it was found that a number of firms are still not following the guidance. A number of firms have claimed that the guidance given by the SRA is not easy to follow, an argument which has been dismissed by the SRA, as Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said:
“(These are) lawyers, who are used to dealing with detailed propositions and it’s not that detailed.”
The board of the SRA have reiterated their intent to punish firms who do not comply. Earlier this year the SRA were given increased powers to punish firms, such as fining firms up to £25,000 without having to refer cases to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Philip added:
“Given the rules have now been in force for coming up to four years and the fact that this group of firms have previously provided a declaration of compliance, we intend to take a more robust enforcement approach. Longer term we will also be looking to utilise the proposed new fining powers as part of this enforcement exercise.”