SRA Update

Welcome to Issue 47 of SRA Update. Our newsletter brings you the latest information about our work at the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It includes important news for solicitors and others providing legal services.

New Board and committee members

We have appointed new members to our Board and to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. On the Board, Elaine Williams, David Willis and David Heath have joined us after the retirement from the Board of Tom Keevil, Sara Nathan and former Chair of the Board Charles Plant. The EDI Committee, meanwhile, saw six new members appointed. More

Consumer credit regulation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has agreed to our request for a further extension to the transitional arrangements for regulation of consumer credit activities. The Board agreed we should make the request at its January meeting, in order to provide more time to work with the FCA on the best way forward for regulating law firms that carry out consumer credit work. The extension will run from 1 April until 31 October. More

Dixit Shah injunction

We have been granted an injunction against Dixit Shah, also known as Sanjay Shah, prohibiting him from holding himself out as a solicitor or having any involvement with a solicitor’s firm or any entity regulated by the SRA in England and Wales. The injunction is the first of its kind that we have sought. Mr Shah was struck off in 2002. More

Client confidentiality guidance

We have published guidance on the importance of protecting client confidentiality. The issue has been raised due to firms engaging third parties to help in work such as financial management. Some outside organisations have therefore been able to access client information, so firms need to be aware of how best to deal with the situation. More

Small firms work

Our support for smaller firms, promised when we launched our Regulatory Reform programme, continues. A discussion paper on our proposed approach was launched at our COLP and COFA conference on 26 November, and a webinar is taking place on 3 February. More

Client account usage

We have published a warning notice around using the client account as a bank account. This is expressly prohibited by rule 14.5 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. The warning notice outlines why the rule exists, provides further guidance on how to stay compliant and details incidents brought to our attention, including cases that were taken to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.More

Anti-money laundering

Two warning notices have been published around anti-money laundering. The first reminds the profession of obligations around potential money laundering activity, and how to recognise suspicious transactions. The second carries further details on how to make suspicious activity reports (SARs) to the National Crime Agency, should you come across potential attempted money laundering. More

Social media

We have increased the range of social media platforms we use to engage with you to make our information even more widely available. We now use the Facebook and Pinterest social networks to carry messages about our work, complementing an established presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. More

Diversity data

This year’s diversity data collection exercise will again use an external provider to collect information about the demographics of firms. Collecting this data provides a clearer picture of the diversity of the profession. One of the Regulatory Objectives is to encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession. It is only by gathering information on the make-up of the profession that we will know if this objective is being achieved. More

Question of Ethics

Our Professional Ethics team can offer help and advice on following the Handbook when issues appear less than clear cut. The online guide “A Question of Ethics” presents some of the more frequently asked questions the team receive. The latest questions concern a COFA’s knowledge of the Accounts Rules and fulfilling the roles of COLP and COFA in a small firm.More

In brief

Bogus firms

Fraudsters who pretend to be solicitors in order to scam innocent clients continue to be a big problem, as can be seen from our alerts at www.sra.org.uk/alerts. You can play an important role in guarding against such scams by following the guidance on policing your image. As mentioned earlier, we have also produced a paper supporting the autumn update of the Risk Outlook on this subject. More

How we consult

We are improving the way we engage with those affected by our work by adopting a flexible and tailored approach to how we consult. We are committed to undertaking more engagement with stakeholders before any formal consultation. We will also reach out to interested parties in a range of ways so that we can give as many people as possible the opportunity to comment.More


The Legal Ombudsman has released dates for its next courses on the Guide to Good Complaint Handling. Bournemouth and District Law Society are partners for a course on Tuesday 10 March, from 11am until 3.30pm. See here for further details. A second takes place in partnership with Liverpool Law Society, on Tuesday 24 March, from 9.30am until 1.30pm. See here for further details. More


Diversity data

Your diversity profile could offer the competitive edge in our changing marketplace. Through our webinar, find out about new arrangements for submitting your data to us, the benefits of diversity monitoring for your firm and how our new online diversity toolkit can best be used to your business advantage. This webinar takes place tomorrow (28 January). More

Small firms

Last November we published a discussion paper about what we can do to help small firms comply with regulation. Our presenters will take you through the proposals and will discuss the top regulatory issues we see affecting small firms. There will be a live Q&A session and online polling for participants. This webinar takes place on 3 February. More


Separate Business Rule

We are seeking views on changes to the Separate Business Rule as currently set out in Chapter 12 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 in part A of our consultation. Part B is about the services that a firm can provide to the public directly through its practice, rather than through a separate entity. The consultation closes on 12 February. More

Accountants’ reports

Our consultation on Accountants’ Reports seeks views on proposed changes to the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, which form the second phase of a programme of reform. The proposals are part of the SRA’s wider programme of reform, designed to ensure regulation is proportionate and targeted, while providing appropriate levels of consumer protection. The consultation closes tomorrow (28 January). More

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