By Legal Futures’ Associate DG Legal
The SRA’s Transparency regulations came into force on 6th December with little fanfare and perhaps little in the way of compliance. According to Legal Futures, only 28% of the firms websites that they checked had complied with the price transparency rules.
It’s fair to say that many law firms aren’t excited about the new rules and haven’t fully followed what the SRA is asking them to do. The price rules not only expect details of clear pricing but also what work is included and who will be delivering the work.
All of the focus appears to have been on price and the launch of a new SRA digital badge. There has been very little attention directed to the third area of the new regulations – the rule obliging firms to publicise their complaints procedure on their website.
Many will be unaware that in addition to explaining how to contact The Legal Ombusdsman, complaint procedures must explain in what circumstances clients may complain to the SRA. The SRA is expecting firms to explain that clients can approach the SRA where there is a concern about the firm’s behaviour.
Firms must therefore amend their template complaints handling procedure. We have amended our template by adding the following paragraph:
Solicitors Regulation Authority
If you think a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, you also have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman). For further information about the SRA’s role, please contact the SRA or visit: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#report”
If you would welcome a free copy of our template complaints handling procedure for law firms, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org