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SRA and SDT's dispute over disciplinary powers

Contradictions abound in the regulator's use of section 43 orders and its powers to impose fines and rebukes on solicitors' employees, writes Susanna Heley

13 April 2016

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has made relatively sparing use of its powers to impose financial penalties and rebukes on solicitors' employees since those powers were introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007.

Until quite recently, the SRA continued to focus almost exclusively on its pre-existing powers to make orders under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974. A section 43 order is, essentially, a prohibition on the profession from employing a named individual without the consent of the SRA. That was, traditionally, the only way in which the SRA could regulate the conduct of unadmitted persons.

There have been occasions of late when the SRA has elected to use both its power to make a section 43 order and its (relatively) new powers to impose fines and disciplinary sanctions pursuant to section 44D of the Act. In relation to each type of decision, appeals lie to the Solicitors ...

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