Change to sole practitioner authorisation
The Legal Services Board (LSB) has agreed to the changes proposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to the way it authorises sole practitioners.
Forming part of the Handbook amendments due to come into effect on 1 November, the rules will bring existing processes for authorising sole practitioners in line with all other firms.
Currently, there is an endorsement procedure in place, which means a solicitor may not practise as a sole practitioner unless they have a “sole solicitor endorsement” on their practising certificate. The endorsement has to be renewed every year. In contrast, other firms go through a one-off authorisation application process, rather than an annual endorsement.
As a result of the changes, the endorsement procedure for sole practitioners will no longer be required. From October, when sole practitioners renew, they will be issued with a practising certificate without an endorsement, as is already the case for managers (partners etc) at other type of firms. The same application form will be used to renew a practising certificate and pay a periodical fee.
It is not anticipated that the changes will have agreat deal of impact on firms and sole practitioners who should apply for PC renewal as normal in 2015.
Following the renewal exercise, a Certificate of Authorisation will be issued. Further information for sole practitioners is available in the mySRA frequently-asked questions.