Handbook Reaches version 13
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Handbook has again been updated and now reaches version 13.
Among important changes made in this version is the publication of the SRA Competence Statement, which defines the standards required for a solicitor to practise. The Competence Statement is a key part of changes made to introduce the new approach to continuing competence for solicitors who wish to adopt it from 1 April on a voluntary basis. A toolkit to support solicitors who want to adopt the new approach on a voluntary basis has also been launched (see www.sra.org.uk/toolkit). Every solicitor will need to adopt the new approach from 1 November 2016.
Other major changes in Version 13 of the Handbook include:
- Changes to the SRA Compensation Fund Rules 2011 and the SRA Handbook Glossary 2012 setting out the eligibility criteria for individuals who are able to apply for a grant out of the SRA’s Compensation Fund.
- A new outcome which requires firms to assess and purchase an appropriate level of professional indemnity insurance and changes to the Minimum Terms and Conditions of cover (Appendix 1 of the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules 2013) relating to the variation of multi-year policies, clarification of run-off cover and the introduction of a sanctions exclusion.
- Removal of transitional provisions relating to sole practitioners, ahead of changes to be made in November 2015 whereby sole practitioners will no longer require an annual endorsement on their PC. This will be replaced with an authorisation that does not need to be renewed annually.
- New rules enabling entities owned or managed by Registered European Lawyers (RELs) to be able to operate within England and Wales without necessarily needing to do so through an SRA authorised body.
All changes to the handbook were agreed by the SRA Board between November 2014 and March 2015 this year. A consultation on the assessment framework for the Competence Statement will take place later this year. The SRA is already engaging with stakeholders on this matter.
The Competence Statement can be accessed on the SRA web site at www.sra.org.uk/competence/