Suitability Test Issues
Suitability Test Issues
The SRA Suitability Test 2011 was introduced on the 6 October 2011 and replaced the previous SRA guidelines on the assessment of character and suitability.
The Lawyers Defence Group is able to assist you in dealing with any issues that arise in relation to that test.
The test applies to those seeking admission or restoration to the roll as a solicitor, as well as legally qualified and non-legally qualified applicants for roles in authorised bodies as authorised role holders – such as COLPs and COFAs. The SRA take the view that the test should be the same for non-solicitors as it is for solicitors since they will be working within the profession and must meet the same high standards that the general public expect of solicitors.
There are two parts to the requirements under the suitability test. Part 1 applies to those who are applying for student enrolment, admission or restoration to the roll, whilst Part 1 and Part 2 apply to those are applying for authorisation as an authorised role holder.
Part 1 contains requirements relating to:
- criminal offences;
- disclosure – all relevant matters must be disclosed – whether they occurred in the UK or not;
- behaviour not compatible with that expected of a prospective solicitor or authorised role holder;
- assessment offences – e.g. offences relating to education and testing such as plagiarism and cheating;
- financial issues such as inability to manage finances;
- regulatory history such as a serious disciplinary finding, sanction or action by a regulatory body;
In addition, where a disclosure has been made you must be able to provide evidence to support your application – for example references, credit check information and evidence of rehabilitation.
Part 2, which applies to all those seeking to become an authorised role holder incorporates everything in Part 1 and in addition states that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, an application will be refused if:
- you have been removed from the office of trustee for a charity by an order imposed by the Charities Act 1993;
- you have been removed and/or disqualified as a company director;
- any body corporate of which you are/were a manager or owner has been the subject of a winding up order, an administrative order or an administrative receivership, or has otherwise been wound up or put into administration in circumstances of insolvency;
- you have a previous conviction which is now spent for a criminal offence relating to bankruptcy, IVAs or other circumstances of insolvency;
- you are a corporate person/entity subject to a relevant insolvency event defined in rule 1.2 of the SRA Authorisation Rules;
- you are a corporate person/entity and other matters that call your fitness and propriety into question are disclosed or come to light;
- you have committed an offence under the Companies Act 2006; and/or
- the SRA have evidence reflecting on the honesty and integrity of a person you are related to, affiliated with, or act together with where they have reason to believe that the person may have an influence over the way in which you will exercise your authorised role.
If you are having, or believe that you will have, problems satisfying the suitability test, or if you have been refused admission, restoration or authorisation and wish to appeal, then contact the Lawyers Defence Group by:
- telephoning during office hours – 0845 216 2000,
- requesting a call-back using the call-back request form to the right,
- telephoning our out of hours number (but please only in an emergency – for example when someone has been arrested or you believe that your firm might be about to be intervened in) 07952 861 868,
- emailing us at email@example.com, or
- writing to us at one of the addresses at the bottom of this web page.