Revised Enforcement Strategy from SRA
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published an updated Enforcement Strategy explaining when and how it will take action against a law firm or solicitor.
Aimed at providing the public and profession with greater certainty in relation to enforcement action, the new strategy explains the factors to be taken into account in deciding the seriousness of misconduct and the action to take.
To support the strategy, the SRA have also published a number of internal reference documents, known as ‘topic guides’, which summarise the main mitigating and aggravating factors taken into account when considering cases in a number of common areas.
These documents cover areas such as solicitors being convicted of criminal offences, drink driving and misusing social media.
Most topical of these is the one that deals with what the SRA will be doing in relation to failing to comply with the SRA Transparency Rules – and for the first time actually spells out that thematic checks and trawls of the internet will be taking place.
Released alongside the enforcement strategy, the SRA have also published proposed changes to the wording of the rules relating to when firms should report cases of potential misconduct. The rule changes make it clear 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.
The change follows concerns that individuals reporting potential misconduct may be victimised, the rules make it absolutely clear that nobody should face detrimental treatment for making, or proposing to make, a report.