Welcome to Edition 35 of SRA Update. This newsletter brings you the latest information about the work of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It includes important news for solicitors and others providing legal services.
On 1, April 2014, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will take over the regulation of consumer credit activity from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). This will change the way consumer credit activities carried out by solicitors’ firms and alternative business structures are regulated. The group licence issued by the OFT under which SRA- regulated firms currently operate will cease to have effect from More
The deadline for renewing professional indemnity insurance is just two weeks away. Firms need to ensure they have cover in place, especially as this will be the first year without the assigned risks pool, which has been removed as one of a number of changes coming into effect. More
We have started the first phase of evaluating the data on firms’ finances, gleaned through an exercise that we carried out at the end of the summer. By identifying those firms that need additional help, we can engage at the earliest opportunity and that often leads to the best possible outcomes for all concerned. More
The Legal Ombudsman has added to its training programme for the coming year following a successful pilot course on complaints handling. The CPD- accredited programme for the legal profession has been extended, with the next course taking placing on Thursday 8 October, hosted by Charles Lucas & Marshall Solicitors in Newbury, Berkshire. More
Our Professional Ethics Guidance Helpline will return to its former hours ofMonday to Friday, 9am to 5pm as of 30 September. There are now more staff to provide help and advice on all matters involving the Handbook. More
A warning notice has been produced for anyone involved in the promotion or facilitation of financial arrangements. Some law firms have been targeted by fraudsters promoting high-yield investment schemes which have proved to be ineffective and often fraudulent, so we have produced a warning notice to provide advice on complying with the Principles and recognise this type of fraud.More
As part of this year’s PC renewals exercise, you are now able to add deemed approved managers directly via mySRA. Previously, firms had to submit an NM1 form (new manager notification) prior to a manager joining the firm. More
Firms need to collect, report and publish workforce diversity data before the 31 January 2014. From this year, diversity data can be reported online through a new facility on mySRA, designed to help firms demonstrate how they are meeting the requirements of Principle 9 of the Code of Conduct. Collection of this data is a Legal Services Board requirement to promote transparency and diversity in the legal services market. The SRA will publish the aggregated data of the diversity data collection early in 2014. More
Registration for the first phase of QASA is due to begin on 30 September for the Midlands and Western circuits. Solicitors providing advocacy services in courts on those two circuits will be able to start the accreditation process by completing an application form and pay the appropriate fee online through the SRA’s website.More
Over the past 18 months, we have met with consumer bodies and consumers themselves to improve the support and information we provide about lawyers and legal services and find out what gaps and challenges there are. Our aim is to help the public to understand what they can expect from legal services so they can make well-informed decisions when they need to use a solicitor.More
A special event is taking place this week for those looking for a career in regulation. We are looking to fill vacancies in our Supervision team, and potential candidates are invited to an open session at our headquarters in The Cube in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon (19 September). More
Our Professional Ethics helpline team can offer help and advice on following the Handbook when issues appear less than clear cut. A Question of Ethics presents some of the more frequently-asked questions they receive. The latest question concerns the position regarding the Consumer Credit Act group licence, as mentioned earlier. More
We’ve made improvements to the Training Contract, as well as other documents used by training principals. This Training Contract is consistent with the Training Regulations 2011 and all other copies should be disregarded. These updated forms, including training guidance, are available on our website. More
Earlier in the year we ran a severity survey which asked for the views of COLPs and COFAs on the seriousness of the risks in the Risk Index. We had almost 300 responses and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey for sharing their views. More
We have a dedicated web page for those considering applying for admission. The pages have all the necessary information, forms and guidance needed to apply to be admitted to the roll of solicitors, along with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). More
Our webinars are free and carry CPD points. They all take place on specified weekdays between 12.30 and 13.30.
This webinar will provide more details of what SRA-regulated firms should do to comply with these requirements, which we have imposed on firms in order to conform with the Legal Service Board’s expectations of us as an approved regulator. Webinar participants will have an opportunity to ask questions about the process of collecting, reporting and publishing the data.
QASA, the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime), was formally approved by the Legal Services Board on 29 July 2013. This webinar offers solicitor advocates intending to enter the scheme an opportunity to learn more about the system used to manage QASA accreditation, including registration screen grabs and requirements.
We have made significant improvements in streamlining our processes for authorising alternative business structures, firms, entities and sole practitioners. If you are considering applying to become authorised, join us for this webinar to find out what you need to take into account when completing the form and to put questions to the presenters.
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