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An active regulator

The SRA’s tough new approach to regulation is too intrusive, says David Mayhew

17 June 2008

It will not have escaped your attention that the regulator is in a very busy phase of activity: seven Consultation Papers with response deadlines in March or April 2008 and a further three for June and July; policy statements on settlements in and publication of regulatory and disciplinary decisions; a strategy statement and so on. What does this tell us about the new world ushered in by the Legal Services Act 2007?

Risk-based approach

The SRA has emphasised it is adopting “a risk-based approach to regulation“. This represents a paradigm shift in regulatory intent: from reactive (relying on complaints as the mechanism for identifying problems) to proactive (monitoring the regulated activities to identify potential threats to the regulatory objectives defined in s1 of the Act). The ‘risk’ in risk-based regulation is the risk that the regulator will not achieve such statutory objectives.

Risk assessment requires information about regulated activities. Here...

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