City solicitors have called for clarity from the Solicitors Regulation Authority over the reporting of rule breaches and misconduct, while arguing that compliance officers should be the first port of call for whistleblowers.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposed whistleblowing policy could undermine the role of compliance officers, fail to work because of mistrust by lawyers, and clash with solicitors’ ethical duties, according to the Law Society.
The 2012 practising certificate renewal exercise has gone live today with an acknowledgement from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that there will be “glitches”. Separately the SRA has published its long-awaited consultation on introducing a leniency scheme for law firm whistleblowers.
The introduction of a leniency scheme for those who reveal misconduct at law firms and alternative business structures will today be debated by the board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Co-operation could result in no action taking against the potential witness over their own wrongdoing.
Law firms need to establish policies on whistleblowing and the interest they pay to clients, according to a leading regulatory solicitor. Other key issues troubling firms include preparing a business plan and compliance with provisions on outsourcing.
Solicitors do not trust their regulator enough to raise concerns with it or think it will act if they do, the Law Society has claimed, offering to act as a formal conduit between the two. It also accused the Solicitors Regulation Authority of acting in a way that can seriously damage a solicitor’s reputation
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is formulating a whistleblowers’ charter and leniency scheme for those who reveal misconduct at law firms and alternative business structures, Legal Futures can report. Co-operation will be accepted as mitigation.