SRA updates Enforcement Strategy
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has updated its Enforcement Strategy, which explains when and how it would take action against a law firm or solicitor.
The strategy aims to provide greater clarity on how it decides whether to act in a given case, and what factors it considers in deciding the seriousness of misconduct and the action it should take.
To support this the SRA has also made public a number of ‘topic guides’, which summarise the mitigating and aggravating factors it takes into account when considering cases in common areas.
These documents cover areas such as solicitors being convicted of criminal offences, drink driving, misusing social media, or failing to comply with the SRA transparency rules.
SRA chief executive Paul Philip said: “Our revised Enforcement Strategy is designed to make it clear about what we do and when.
"It sets out the type of situations where we need to step in to protect the public. It will give the profession confidence that we consider and take action in an open, fair and consistent way.”
Alongside the enforcement strategy, the SRA has also published proposed changes to the wording of its rules regarding when firms should report cases of potential misconduct to the regulator.
The regulator publicly consulted on these rule changes last year, after it became apparent that law firms were interpreting the existing rules in different ways.
The rule changes say that firms should apply their professional judgement to decide whether potential misconduct may have taken place and that they should then report the issues as soon as possible.
In response to feedback around concerns that individuals reporting potential misconduct may be victimised, the rules emphasise that nobody should face detrimental treatment for making, or proposing to make, a report.
Philp added: “Timely reporting of serious concerns is a key part of public protection. Our new rules make it clear that solicitors and law firms should report potential misconduct promptly.”