Solicitors' regulator looks to access to justice, diversity and inclusion

Solicitors’ leaders today welcomed the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) draft 2021-2022 business plan and budget, which will focus on anti-money laundering (AML), diversity, inclusion, technology and innovation.

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “We are pleased to see the SRA prioritising its work and resources on its core regulatory function – ensuring high professional standards of competence.

“The regulator is expected to focus on implementing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), AML, diversity, inclusion, technology and innovation. All of these areas align with the Law Society’s priorities.

“We would welcome the opportunity to work closely with the SRA in these areas, and encourage the regulator to ensure that our efforts are suitably coordinated, particularly in equality, diversity, technology and innovation.

“The SRA also proposes to more clearly segment the market when considering regulatory issues, which we support, as this should lead to a better understanding of the impact and cost of regulation across different legal practice types or size of providers. This should help to ensure that the way SRA regulates is fair, proportionate and inclusive.

“In principle, we support work on improving the quality of monitoring the SRA’s enforcement workstreams, however, we question how truly independent an ‘internal quality assurance team’ will be.

“We recommended the SRA consider using an external auditor to ensure the decision-making process is unbiased and fully independent. This would enhance confidence and credibility within the profession.

“It’s encouraging to see access to justice will be a focus across all its work, and we would welcome the SRA’s support in our call for investment in the justice system, particularly in legal aid as a necessary and central element to increase access to justice.

“As the profession continues to adapt the way it works during the pandemic, we look forward to working with the SRA on the issues affecting our members today and helping them manage their business in the future.”

Notes to editors

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928