LSB to review enforcement tools available to regulators

The Legal Services Board's (LSB) has announced plans to review the enforcement and investigative tools available to legal services regulators. We strongly oppose a further extension of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) fining powers.
Lubna Shuja is a woman of South Asian heritage with long, wavy, dark brown hair. She looks serious and wears a grey suit and burnt orange shirt.
Photograph: Darren Filkins

The SRA's power to discipline and fine solicitors who commit misconduct was increased very recently. More serious matters continue to be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

There is no evidence that the SRA's current fining powers are insufficient.

The SRA does not exist on its own in the regulatory process. It sits alongside the SDT, which already has draconian powers to sanction any wrongdoing in the solicitors' profession.

These include not only fining powers but also the ability to remove a solicitor from the profession altogether.

The SDT remains the appropriate forum for serious cases of alleged misconduct. It is independent from the regulator and has clearly defined processes.

This transparency means solicitors, clients and the general public can have confidence in the SDT's decision-making processes.

Further, extending the SRA's powers risks undermining the SDT's role and authority, and potentially reducing the sanctions imposed on bad conduct.

The Law Society strongly opposes any proposals to further increase the current financial penalties available to the SRA.

This request appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent media investigation into a very small number of solicitors, who have been quickly dealt with by way of interim measures while their cases are properly considered.

I want to know more

Read the LSB's proposals

The SRA's fining powers increased from £2,000 to £25,000 in July 2022. Find out what's changing

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