Last week, the Solicitors Regulation Authority announced changes to its Handbook which will promote “high standards and choice”. The stripped down Handbook will include two Codes of Conduct, one for individuals and one for regulated entities, partly in response to concerns that the current version does not adequately cater for in-house solicitors – who now represent close to a quarter of the profession.
The new Handbook will also, controversially, allow solicitors working in unregulated businesses and providing legal advice in non-reserved areas to keep their title.
The new rules will come into force no earlier than autumn 2018 following further consultation later this year on authorisation, practice framework rules and enforcement policy.
If you occupy the role of COLP or COFA in your firm, or have other compliance-related responsibilities, CLT’s COLPs, COFAs and Managing Compliance course will help you navigate the maze of SRA requirements and help you to prepare for the new rules.
Paul Philip, the SRA's chief executive, said: 'Clear, high professional standards are at the heart of public confidence in solicitors, law firms and a modern legal sector. Our consultation confirmed that a shorter, clearer Handbook, with a sharp focus on professional standards, is the way forward. Pages and pages of complex rules hinders rather than helps compliance. It drives costs rather than good practice and consumer protection. We want to move away from ticking boxes to putting more trust in professional judgement.