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In our response to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s business plan, we welcome its strategic priorities and the extension of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund. However, we’re concerned by plans to increase its fining powers by more than 1,000% and introduce new regulatory powers on wellbeing.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) business plan 2022/23 reflects the SRA’s three strategic priorities:
The SRA’s workstreams for 2022/23 include:
The SRA also sought views on its budget, practising certificate fees and the compensation fund.
The SRA proposes that its portion of the practising certificate fee would reduce from £185 to £181 in 2022/23.
We’re pleased the SRA will continue work on policy areas that aligns with our priorities, including:
We’re keen to work closely with the SRA to maximise efforts and avoid duplication.
We’re also encouraged by its plans to engage in debates and speak up on:
SRA support for our campaign for investment in the justice system would be particularly welcome, especially in legal aid as a central component of increasing access to justice.
We’re also open to collaboration around climate change policy and horizon scanning to combine our experiences and specialisms and help members navigate future regulatory complexity and anticipate change.
In principle, we welcome prioritisation of work and resource on the SRA’s core regulatory function of ensuring high professional standards of competence.
We’re pleased the SRA decided to extend the life of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) for a further 12 months after hearing our concerns and those of the profession and consumers.
However, we have real concerns about the SRA’s approach to areas such as fining powers and health and wellbeing considerations within law firms.
We’re particularly disappointed that the SRA intends to seek an increase of its fining powers by more than 1,000% without balancing these changes with appropriate safeguards.
Similarly, we do not support the SRA’s proposals of new regulatory powers to address the issues around wellbeing.
We’re keen to continue to engage with the SRA, sharing insights into members’ views and experiences to make sure the SRA’s proposals are informed by evidence, robustly impact assessed, fair and proportionate.
The consultation closed on 17 June.
We look forward to working with the SRA on the issues affecting our members now and in the future.