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Last updated: 9 May 2018
This practice note provides advice on how to ensure that you can be both a good solicitor and a good supervisor, and gives those being supervised guidance on how to ensure they receive effective supervision.

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:

  • SRA Code of Conduct 2011, chapter 7 on management of your business
  • Training Regulations 2011 – Part 2 – Training Provider Regulations
  • SRA Authorisation Rules for Legal Services Bodies and Licensable Bodies 2011
  • SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011

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.


Must - A specific requirement in legislation or of a principle, rule, outcome or other mandatory provision in the SRA Handbook. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA Handbook.

Should - Outside of a regulatory context, good practice for most situations in the Law Society's view. In the case of the SRA Handbook, an indicative behaviour or other non-mandatory provision (such as may be set out in notes or guidance).

These may not be the only means of complying with legislative or regulatory requirements and there may be situations where the suggested route is not the best possible route to meet the needs of your client. However, if you do not follow the suggested route, you should be able to justify to oversight bodies why the alternative approach you have taken is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

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

SRA Code - SRA Code of Conduct 2011

2007 Code - Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007

OFR - Outcomes-focused regulation

SRA - Solicitors Regulation Authority

CPD - Continuing Professional Development

Manager - The SRA Code defines manager as:

  • a member of an LLP
  • a director of a company
  • a partner in a partnership, or
  • in relation to any other body, a member of its governing body

Lawyer - The SRA Code defines lawyer as a member of one of the following professions, entitled to practise as such:

  • the profession of solicitor, barrister or advocate of the UK
  • a profession whose members are authorised to carry on legal activities by an approved regulator other than the SRA
  • an Establishment Directive profession other than a UK profession
  • a legal profession which has been approved by the SRA for the purpose of recognised bodies in England and Wales, and
  • any other regulated legal profession specified by the SRA for the purpose of this definition

Supervisor - A person responsible for the supervision of another person (whether a paralegal, trainee or qualified lawyer). This includes not just those with ongoing responsibility for the supervision of an individual (eg a trainee supervisor), but also any person who has delegated responsibility for a piece of work - or a particular part of it - to another person, or who has undertaken responsibility for supervision of a particular matter.

Training principal - A partner, manager, director, owner, or someone of equivalent seniority and/or managerial status who meets the requirements of the SRA, as outlined in the Training Regulations 2011 Part 2 - Training Provider Regulations, and who is nominated by a training establishment to comply with Regulation 15 and take overall responsibility for the training of trainees during the training contract period.

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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