SRA business plan and budget 2023/24 – Law Society response

Read our response to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) proposed business plan and budget for the 2023/24 financial year.

The proposals

The SRA business plan 2023/24 reflects the SRA’s four strategic priorities:

  • deliver high professional standards
  • strengthen risk-based and proactive regulation
  • support innovation and technology
  • be an authoritative and inclusive organisation, meeting the needs of the public, consumers, those it regulates and staff

The SRA’s workstreams for 2023/24 include:

  • the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)
  • assessing continuing competence
  • transparency requirements
  • innovation and technology
  • environmental, social and governance issues
  • equality and diversity

The SRA also sought views on a proposed 12% budget increase, practising certificate fees and the Compensation Fund.

Our view

Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “The SRA propose a significant increase in their budget.

"Given that many firms are facing inflationary pressures, it is vitally important that the SRA is focused on efficiency savings and costs are controlled to avoid unnecessary pressure on the practising certificate fee.”

The SRA’s priorities

We’re pleased the SRA will continue work on policy areas that aligns with our priorities, including:

  • the SQE
  • anti-money laundering
  • diversity and inclusion
  • technology and innovation

We welcome the focus on the SQE as a priority and would particularly welcome the publication of SQE data.

On the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, we continue to be committed to a proportionate and risk-based AML regime and to making the UK a hostile environment for illicit finance.

We will work with the SRA to ensure a risk-based and effective approach to the AML regime and in implementing the new regulatory objective on economic crime.

As technological evolution accelerates, regulators and membership bodies must possess the expertise to examine technological landscapes and use cases effectively.

We would support any research on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and any risks it could bring to legal practice.

We also welcome the continued focus on EDI work, particularly the research into:

  • attainment gap for candidates from Black, Asian and minority and ethnic backgrounds in professional assessments
  • overrepresentation of solicitors from those backgrounds in reports made to the SRA and the subsequent enforcement process

We’re keen to work closely with the SRA to maximise efforts and avoid duplication.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 21 June 2023.

Read the consultation on the SRA website

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