You are here:
  1. Home
  2. Support services
  3. Advice
  4. Practice notes
  5. Setting up a practice: regulatory requirements

Setting up a practice: regulatory requirements

2 December 2019
This practice note outlines the regulatory requirements to consider when setting up your practice. 

Legal status

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Standards and Regulations 2019 replaced the SRA Handbook (2011) on 25 November 2019. Accordingly, this practice note is relevant to all law firms and sole practitioners authorised by the SRA. It’s also relevant to individual solicitors, registered European lawyers (RELs) and registered foreign lawyers (RFLs), wherever they practise.

We issue practice notes for the use and benefit of our members. They represent our view of good practice in a particular area. 

They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You’re not required to follow them but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

For queries or comments on this practice note contact our Practice Advice Service.

SRA Principles

There are seven mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice.

The principles apply to all authorised individuals (solicitors, RELs and RFLs), authorised firms and their managers and employees. They also apply to individuals and the parts of a licensed body involved in delivering the regulated services

Professional conduct

The principles apply to solicitors or managers of authorised bodies who are practising from an office outside the UK. They also apply if you’re a lawyer-controlled body practising from an office outside the UK.

Terminology

Must - A specific requirement in the SRA Code or legislation. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA Handbook.

Should - Good practice for most situations. If you deviate from this, you must be able to justify why this is appropriate for your firm

May - A non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations. Which option you choose is determined by the risk profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You must be able to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.

Sign In or Register

This is premium content

To access premium content login to My Law Society.

Not registered? My Law Society is free and open to all users. Register below.

Not registered?

Registration is free and will only take a couple of minutes.

If you are a member of The Law Society you can use your MySRA account details to register.

Register
Update your contact preferences

Update your details in My Law Society and tell us how you want to hear from us.

Practice Advice Service

The Practice Advice Service provides a dedicated support line for Law Society members and employees of law firms. Call us on 020 7320 5675.

> Contact the Practice Advice Service
Previous versions

Previous versions of this page are available below:

Recommended

professionals risk compliance
The SRA’s new Standards and Regulations – are you prepared?

The SRA Handbook is being replaced by the Standards and Regulations from 25 November, changing the way that the profession will be governed. Find out what’s changing and how we can help you and your firm stay compliant.

The SRA’s new Standards and Regulations – are you prepared? > More
keyloock
Risk and Compliance annual 2020

Join this conference to keep up-to-date on hot topics in legal risk and compliance.

Risk and Compliance annual 2020 > More
Professional Development
Risk management for small to medium law firms

On Tuesday 17 December 12:30 join us as we discuss risk management and how it is the ultimate investment for any law firm.

Risk management for small to medium law firms > More
Professional Development Centre logo
Practising as, and dealing with, unregulated businesses and freelance solicitors

On Thursday 13 February 12:30 join us as we discuss alternative business structures to practising as a solicitor, other than working through an SRA regulated firm and the risks involved.

Practising as, and dealing with, unregulated businesses and freelance solicitors > More
Professional Development Centre logo
The New SRA Principles and Code of Conduct for Solicitors – are you ready

Our members have raised concerns about the risks associated with the potential grey areas within the new SRA Standards and Principles. Our practical, interactive online course helps you to navigate the new rules, implement the changes and shed light

The New SRA Principles and Code of Conduct for Solicitors – are you ready > More