Getting ready for new SRA Standards and Regulations

Word provided by Jane Malcolm, SRA Executive Director, External and Corporate Affairs

Following engagement with tens of thousands of people from the profession and beyond over the last four years, our new SRA Standards and Regulations will come into force on 25 November.

Reducing our current Handbook from over 600 to nearer 400 pages was a step forward but it is still far too long, too complex and too prescriptive. Lots of detailed rules micro-managing firms can hinder rather than help compliance, while obscuring the high standards that matter and pushing up firms’ costs.

So, we have removed the outdated constraints and pages of detail to focus on high professional standards, while making it as easy for solicitors to offer legal services.

You have probably already seen the detail on our website - our new Standards and Regulations are around 130 pages long, with separate Codes for individuals and firms. Shorter, sharper and easier to navigate.

We have revamped our Account Rules in a similar spirit. We focused on what is important - keeping client money safe rather than how to run an accounts department., reducing the Accounts Rules from more than 40 pages to less than ten.

The Standards and Regulations will not only give you more flexibility on how you run your business but will allow you to work in new ways. Working as freelancers will suit many solicitors who do not want to employ staff or run a client account, while others will be able to provide legal advice to the public while working in different types of organisations, extending career options.

Change can, of course, be daunting so with plenty of time for everyone to prepare, we will be providing extra support around the new Codes with guidance, case studies and checklists. Look out for the material over the coming months, along with an interactive version of the Standards and Regulations, helping you to find exactly what you want when you want it.