The SRA Handbook reform – Phase Two consultation update
In late September last year, the SRA published a second consultation on its ongoing Handbook reform, 'Looking to the future: phase two of our Handbook reform'. The consultation proposed far-reaching changes to the way solicitors and firms currently practise. Key proposals included allowing self-employed solicitors to provide reserved activities on freelance basis, removing the 'qualified to supervise' rule, widening the practising address requirements beyond England and Wales to anywhere in the UK, and amending approach to the enforcement strategy.
The consultation closed on 20 December 2017.
The Law Society and other stakeholders commented on the SRA proposals. Full responses can be found at the links below:
The Legal Services Board Consumer Panel
“We do not believe that the SRA has struck the right balance between flexibility and the need for consumer protection in a number of these areas.”
The Legal Ombudsman
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
The Law Society voiced serious concerns about the impact of some of these proposals on the profession and clients. We’re grateful to all the local law societies and other members who took the time to talk to us during the consultation period.
The Law Society and its members are particularly concerned about the proposals to:
- remove the ‘qualified to supervise rule’,
- permit freelance solicitors to act outside the protections of a recognised sole practice, and
- allow solicitors to deliver non-reserved legal services from unregulated entities.
We believe the proposed changes could increase uncertainty for the profession and erode vital client protections. We take the view that flexibility for solicitors should not come at the expense of clients.
View our full response
We will provide further updates on the outcome of the consultation. We expect any changes to be implemented at the earliest in Autumn this year.