The Solicitors Regulation Authority has published a blueprint for simplifying its system for granting waivers to regulations in order to promote innovation, which it suggests will particularly benefit small firms. The new policy would guarantee no enforcement action would be taken if innovations create technical breaches of the rules.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has slapped down the Solicitors Regulation Authority for its conduct in a disciplinary case involving alleged money laundering, describing it as having “verged on the shambolic” and dismissing five out of the seven charges laid.
Mixed response to LSB’s plan for regulatory overhaul, with Falconer calling for focus on unmet legal need instead
Reactions from key legal services industry bodies to the Legal Services Board’s blueprint for radical form of legal regulation have ranged from enthusiastic welcome to anger at its timing, while the politician who introduced the Legal Services Act 2007 said tackling unmet legal need was more of a priority.
The uncertainty that has followed the vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union should not slow down reforms in the legal services market, Paul Philip, the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s chief executive, has warned.
The Law Society has issued a damning critique of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposals for a streamlined code of conduct and – to a lesser extent – its planned overhaul of the accounts rules. The code of conduct proposals were misconceived, unnecessary, unclear, and would create a two-tier profession, it said.
Freeing up the rules on licensing alternative business structures will help the Solicitors Regulation Authority deal with more complex applications, such as those from businesses that form part of a group or have private equity investment, it has told the government.
The Legal Services Board has argued more strongly than ever that professional bodies must be fully separated from regulators. In a letter to the justice select committee, Sir Michael Pitt, chairman of the LSB, argued that there was scope under existing arrangements for them to “resist reforms”.
A solicitor who allowed his wife to make improper transfers from his firm’s client account has been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The SDT said the decision to put his wife in a position of trust was part of a “conscious strategy” by Abdul Aziz Hafezi.
The chief executive and chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority have hit back over criticism of their plans for a comprehensive rewrite of the handbook. They said allowing solicitors to work outside authorised entities would contribute to improving access to legal services and enforcement of civil rights.
A sole practitioner’s wife, who worked at the firm as bookkeeper before being dismissed by her husband, is set to escape a hearing at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Naseem Hafezi admitted misappropriating client money and failing to co-operate with the SRA.