Making your annual declaration
As part of practising certificate renewals, the SRA will ask you to make the following annual declaration: "I have reflected on my practice and addressed any identified learning and development needs."
All solicitors who have a practising certificate must make this declaration, whether they work in the UK or overseas.
The SRA monitors annual declarations and use this information, alongside other data, to explore concerns around a solicitor’s competence or standard of service.
Individual solicitors can make their own annual declaration and complete it for others.
Firms that complete the practising certificate renewal exercise (PCRE) forms on behalf of their solicitors can also make the declaration in the relevant section of the forms.
You can sign the annual declaration form even if you haven’t addressed all of the learning needs you identified.
For example, you may choose to attend training that takes place after the annual returns date.
Or you might not have had time to address all of your learning needs if you identified quite a few. In this case, you just need to try to achieve them within a reasonable timeframe.
If you do not meet your firm’s required standard of competence
By making the annual declaration, you’re only confirming to the SRA that you’ve reflected on the quality of your practice and addressed any learning needs.
The declaration does not state whether you’re competent.
It’s employers’ responsibility to deal with any issues around the competence of individual solicitors, for example by putting in place supervision arrangements.