Don’t recruit partners without running them past us first, SRA warns firms


Collins: approval processes in place

Law firms recruiting partners must now seek the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) approval prior to appointment, it has confirmed.

However, it is still unable to confirm when the process will begin for firms to nominate their compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) and for finance and administration (COFA).

New rules that came into force over the weekend mean firms can no longer simply notify the SRA of new partners after the event.

However, solicitors who do not have any conditions on their practising certificates preventing them from being a manager or an owner will be deemed as already authorised and so subject to a “lighter-touch” authorisation process, the SRA has confirmed, rather than the full process, including the suitability test. This may include a Criminal Records Bureau check.

SRA executive director Richard Collins said: “We need to ensure that approval processes are in place that allow for managers to be properly

approved within the context of the authorised body that they will manage.”

There is also a change for non-lawyer managers of legal disciplinary practices, whose approval is no longer transferrable to a non-lawyer manager role at another firm.

In further changes brought about by transition to the SRA Authorisation Rules, recognised bodies will move to a system of lifelong recognition and certificates will be sent to them over the coming months.

Sole practitioners were expected to transition into the SRA Authorisation Rules on 31 March, a process requiring an order under section 69 of the Legal Services Act 2007, which allows the Lord Chancellor to modify the functions of approved regulators.

However, the order is not yet in place so as an interim step, the SRA has put in place equivalent provisions within the SRA Practising Regulations 2011, which will be contained within the soon-to-be-published third edition of the SRA Handbook and puts sole practitioners into the position they would have been in had the order been made.

The SRA said the COLP and COFA nomination process is expected to commence “in the next six weeks”, which is what it said in its last statement on 14 March. It added: “It is still the SRA‘s intention to approve by the original date of 31 October, when COLPs and COFAs must start fulfilling their duties.”

Tags:




Blog


What does 21st century client service mean to the client?

I don’t think I ever heard the phrase ‘client service’ while I was at law school (indeed, probably not for several years afterwards). But the litigation service that law firms are providing to their clients fit for purpose?


Microsoft 365’s dirty little secret

Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365) is one of the most widely used cloud services in the world, controlling around 48% of the market share for major office suites.


A new route to practice rights for chartered legal executives

Following approval from the Legal Services Board in May 2022, CILEx Regulation has launched an alternative route for chartered legal executives to obtain independent practice rights.


Loading animation