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Setting up a practice: regulatory requirements

25 September 2018
This practice note outlines the regulatory requirements to consider when setting up your practice. There are numerous actions that need to be taken when setting up a firm and doing so will require forward planning. 

Legal status

This practice note is the Law Society's view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice.

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society's 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 are 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 the Law Society's Practice Advice Service.

Professional conduct

The following sections of the SRA Handbook are relevant to this issue:

  • Chapter 7 of the SRA Code on 'Management of your business'
  • Chapter 8 of the SRA Code on 'Publicity'
  • Chapter 10 of the SRA Code on 'You and your regulator' 
  • SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011
  • Authorisation Rules
  • SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules

SRA Principles

There are ten mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice. The principles can be found in the SRA Handbook.

The principles apply to solicitors or managers of authorised bodies who are practising from an office outside the UK. They also apply if you are 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.

SRA Code - SRA Code of Conduct 2011

OFR - Outcomes-focused regulation

SRA - Solicitors Regulation Authority

IB - Indicative behaviour

MTC - Minimum terms and conditions

SIIR - SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules 2011 (as amended from time to time)

PII - Professional indemnity insurance

ABS - Alternative business structure

LLP - Limited liability partnership

The Law Society also provides a full glossary of other terms used throughout this practice note

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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.

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