Profession not given the time to consider the proposal and provide meaningful response, says Martin Varley
The decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority board to scrap the minimum salary for trainees has been done with obscene haste.
We had the Impact Assessment on 1 May and were asked to respond to the SRA on the document within 7 working days. The Impact Assessment is 123 pages long. My committee could not meaningfully respond in this time frame.
The SRA Board formally announced its decision based on the evidence (including responses to the Impact Assessment) four business days after that. In those four days the SRA would have had to sift through the responses, come to a position on them, provide members of the Board with guidance and draft the decision and announcement. Rather unlikely.
This decision of the SRA Board seems to undermine the process of consultation and collaboration between the regulated with our regulators. The SRA board did what it intended to do all along
But the blatant way in which the views of the members of the profession have been ignored illustrates the profound insoucience of the civil servant wielding power. The SRA Board are supposed to restrain such excesses.
On an issue that many see as hitting at the heart of increasing diversity in the profession the SRA should expect huge criticism. That it has chosen to act now while the Education and Training Review is ongoing seems to lay down the gauntlet.
Whatever the profession decides, along with the other strands of the legal services sector, the SRA will make its decisions quite independently.