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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Solicitors Regulation Authority updates guidance on wellbeing at work

Solicitors Regulation Authority updates guidance on wellbeing at work


Guidance designed to help law firms understand the rules on health and wellbeing

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published updated guidance on the ‘Workplace Environment: Risks of Failing to Protect and Support Colleagues’ on 2 May, which aims to help law firms and their employees understand what the new rules on health and wellbeing in the workplace mean in practice.

The updates to the guidance, which was originally published in February 2022, include details on the SRA’s expectations in regard to creating a working culture that enables junior members of staff to raise complaints without fear of recriminations.

The SRA’s new rules on health and wellbeing in the workplace were approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB) in January 2023 following an extensive consultation process. In the Codes of Conduct for both firms and individuals the SRA sets out obligations on the matter, including the requirement to treat colleagues fairly and with respect, and not to engage in bullying, harassment or unfair discrimination. The SRA also clarifies its approach to situations where a solicitor’s health may affect their ability to practise or participate in SRA enforcement processes.

Following the consultation process held in early 2022, the SRA also revised the initial proposals in light of the feedback received, which included requiring all solicitors to challenge any unfair treatment witnessed by them. This element of the rules has also been extended to senior colleagues within firms, such as partners.

Commenting on the updated guidance, SRA Chief Executive, Paul Philip, said: “The legal sector can be a very fast-paced and demanding environment in which to work. While it is up to firms how they run their individual businesses, it does become a regulatory issue if poor working cultures start to impact staff wellbeing, behaviour and ultimately standards of service to the public. That is where we have a duty to act. In order to make sure the public are protected, the rules also clarify the position where a solicitor's health raises regulatory risks. This can include situations where a solicitor is too unwell to take part in an enforcement process.”