Solicitors to pay extra £13.5m to Law Society and SRA

Law Society: 7% increase in funding

Individual solicitors and their firms will have to pay an extra £13.5m to be regulated and represented in the coming year, it emerged today.

The overall sum the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will raise from practising fees in 2023/24 will be £128.2m, an 11.7% increase on the current year.

This covers the SRA (£67.6m, up from £60.5m) and the Law Society (£35.1m, up from £32.8m), with the rest being costs levied on the profession by the Legal Services Board, the Legal Ombudsman, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision.

The individual practising certificate fee will increase 7% from £286 to £307, of which £162 will go to the SRA. This will pay for 40% of the funding requirement, with the rest covered by firm fees.

As we reported in May, the SRA’s overall budget is going up £10m to nearly £98m, with the income not covered by practising fees coming from other sources, such as Solicitors Qualifying Exam fees.

Though practising fees largely pay for regulation, the Legal Services Act 2007 allows the Law Society in its representative guise also to access them for ‘permitted purposes’ – certain prescribed non-regulatory activities, such as law reform.

Not all of the Law Society’s work is covered by this, so it too raises money from other activities.

The Law Society has still not published a detailed budget but has confirmed to Legal Futures the increase it is seeking – practising fees have ultimately to be approved by the Legal Services Board.

Newly published papers from last month’s SRA board meeting reported on the response to its budget consultation and said the Law Society “noted that the proposed increase in practising fee requirement (12%) was ‘significantly greater’ than their increase (7%)”.

The SRA went on: “We note their comments whilst recognising that over the last two years we have increased our requirement by 19%, whereas [the Law Society] has increased its requirement by 23% over the same period.

The SRA also noted the Law Society’s support for its proposal to reduce the Compensation Fund contribution for 2023-24 but that the Legal Services Consumer Panel had called for greater transparency about the rationale for reductions in the contribution. The response did not provide it.

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