The Solicitors Regulation Authority has spelt out to MPs the many risks of Brexit to the legal market – to clients, solicitors, law firms, foreign lawyers, the UK as a legal centre and the cause of liberalisation generally. The regulator said this strengthened the case for regulatory reform.
A man who tried to get a vulnerable client to loan him money – shortly after the will-writing firm he worked for became an alternative business structure – has been banned from working in the profession after it reported him to its new regulator.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has struck off a solicitor who borrowed £125,000 from longstanding clients to bail out his failing business and failed to mention that his wife had a prior charge over the firm’s assets. He also did not insist they take independent legal advice.
Bar Standards Board (BSB) entity regulation is “significantly cheaper and simpler” for sole practitioners and better for clients, according to a solicitor whose start-up law firm is to be regulated by the BSB. She said its regulation was “more client friendly” than that of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A solicitor who hid a wasted costs order against his firm by faking a fee invoice on another matter so as to create a surplus he used to pay it, has been struck off. He said he had been too embarrassed to admit the £1,500 wasted costs order to his managers.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has asked the Competition and Markets Authority for advice on how it could stimulate more use of comparison websites in the legal market, saying there was consumer demand for more of such tools to help consumers choose lawyers.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has forced a solicitor and the regulator to increase the sanction they had agreed he should receive, after concluding that it was too lenient. He was in the dock for failing, as his firm’s COFA, to report serious accounts rules breaches to the SRA.
The Lord Chief Justice has called for judges to be appointed to the boards of the main legal regulators to ensure “tough standards of ethical behaviour and competence” in litigation. Lord Thomas said it seemed “very odd” that the judiciary was not represented on the boards of the SRA, BSB and CILEx Regulation.
The chairman of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) yesterday tried to cool emotions after former Lord Chancellor Michael Gove’s criticism of solicitor-advocates, saying that “the label matters less than the content of the bottle”.
More serious criminal defence work should be restricted to barristers, and solicitor-advocates who want to do it should have to requalify, the former Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, has suggested. He also called for a “higher-quality filter” for those wanting to become barristers and reiterated his support for a levy on City law firms to aid those less fortunate.