Law Society has 'real concerns' over SRA plan to increase fining powers by 1000 per cent
The regulator is also concerned about proposed SRA powers around wellbeing issues
The Law Society has expressed concern about the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) plans to increase its fining powers by more than 1,000 per cent, in its response to the SRA’s 2022/2023 business plan and budget consultation.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce (pictured) said: “In principle, we welcome the SRA’s ongoing prioritisation of its core regulatory function of ensuring high professional standards of competence”.
She said the Law Society was “particularly pleased” with the SRA’s decision to “extend the life” of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) for a further 12 months, following widespread concern from the profession and consumers alike at the prospect of the loss of the SIF.
Boyce added: “Meanwhile, the SRA will continue to focus on anti-money laundering, the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, diversity and inclusion, and technology and innovation, policy areas which align with the Law Society’s own priorities”.
However, she said the Law Society had “real concerns” about the SRA’s approach in “a number of areas”, including “fining powers and health and wellbeing considerations in law firms”.
She added: “We are particularly disappointed the SRA is continuing to seek to increase its fining powers by more than 1,000 per cent without balancing these changes with appropriate safeguards.
“Similarly, we do not support the SRA’s proposals of new regulatory powers to address issues around wellbeing, as these changes are not supported by evidence”.
“We are keen to continue close engagement with the SRA in these areas, providing insights informed by our members’ views and experiences to ensure the SRA’s proposals are evidence-led, robustly impact assessed, fair and proportionate”, concluded Boyce.