If we are investigating you

Enforcement action

We are responsible for regulating you and your firm in the public interest.

We regulate you if you are a solicitor, Registered Foreign Lawyer, Registered European Lawyer or an employee or manager of a firm, regardless of your being a lawyer or not.

We will work with you to facilitate your compliance with the SRA Principles and the regulatory framework that flow from them. Our Supervision function is the risk-based oversight of the entire regulated community. Supervisors work constructively with firms when events occur or thematic work is relevant to the firm. However, enforcement action will be taken if there is serious non-compliance with the SRA Principles or a risk to the public exists which cannot be mitigated.

Firms and individuals

Compliance with a firm's regulatory obligations is the primary responsibility of a firm, however we may decide to investigate you as an individual where, for example, there is evidence of personal culpability (see Criteria to determine the focus of an investigation).

We may decide to write to you, setting out allegations or potential breaches of the SRA Principles. We will write to your firm's SRA contact or, if we are raising issues for you to consider, we will write to you directly. We will ask you or your firm for a written explanation.

If you are an employee, we may

  • write to the firm that employed you at the time of the alleged failure to comply, or
  • write to your current employer, if you have moved firm.

Your reply will help us, and you have an obligation to deal with us in an open, timely and cooperative way.

What happens next

We may decide that further action is necessary if, in our view,

Our investigation may be desk-based whereby we communicate with you in writing and by telephone. Alternatively, we may decide to commence an on-site investigation.

On-site investigations

We may decide to conduct a formal on-site investigation of your firm. For more details about how and when we decide to investigate on site, see our guidance on on-site investigations.

Your obligations and our powers

Please also see our guidance on:

Enforcement: Findings and decisions of the SRA

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Where to find help

You can seek independent advice at any time during the investigation. There are various sources of advice and support which can be found on our 'Your health, your career' page.