SRA Handbook

General

Version 19 of the Handbook was published on 1 October 2017. For more information, please click "History" above.

Part 1: General

Rule 1: Interpretation

1.1

The SRA Handbook Glossary 2012 shall apply to these rules and, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)

all italicised terms within these rules shall be defined; and

(b)

terms within these rules shall be interpreted,

in accordance with the Glossary.

Rule 2: Scope

2.1

These rules govern the procedure for the SRA to:

(a)

give a regulated person a written rebuke;

(b)

direct a regulated person to pay a penalty;

(c)

publish details of a written rebuke or a direction to pay a penalty;

(d)

disqualify a person from acting as a HOLP or HOFA, or being a manager or employee; and

(e)

make an application to the Tribunal.

2.2

These rules shall not prevent, prohibit or restrict the exercise of any other powers or other action by the SRA.

Rule 3: Disciplinary powers

3.1

The circumstances in which the SRA may make a disciplinary decision to give a regulated person a written rebuke or to direct a regulated person to pay a penalty are when the following three conditions are met:

(a)

the first condition is that the SRA is satisfied that the act or omission by the regulated person which gives rise to the SRA finding fulfils one or more of the following in that it:

(i)

was deliberate or reckless;

(ii)

caused or had the potential to cause loss or significant inconvenience to any other person;

(iii)

was or was related to a failure or refusal to ascertain, recognise or comply with the regulated person's professional or regulatory obligations such as, but not limited to, compliance with requirements imposed by legislation or rules made pursuant to legislation, the SRA, the Law Society, the Legal Ombudsman, the Tribunal or the court;

(iv)

continued for an unreasonable period taking into account its seriousness;

(v)

persisted after the regulated person realised or should have realised that it was improper;

(vi)

misled or had the potential to mislead clients, the court or other persons, whether or not that was appreciated by the regulated person;

(vii)

affected or had the potential to affect a vulnerable person or child;

(viii)

affected or had the potential to affect a substantial, high-value or high-profile matter; or

(ix)

formed or forms part of a pattern of misconduct or other regulatory failure by the regulated person;

(b)

the second condition is that a proportionate outcome in the public interest is one or both of the following:

(i)

a written rebuke;

(ii)

a direction to pay a penalty; and

(c)

the third condition is that the act or omission by the regulated person which gives rise to the SRA finding was neither trivial nor justifiably inadvertent.

3.2

Where the SRA has decided to direct a regulated person to pay a penalty:

(a)

in considering the level of penalty to direct the SRA shall take into account the financial penalty criteria in appendix 1 to these rules; and

(b)

the penalty shall not exceed the maximum permitted by law.

3.3

The circumstances in which the SRA may make a disciplinary decision to disqualify a person from acting as a HOLP or HOFA, or being a manager or employee are when the following two conditions are met:

(a)

the SRA is satisfied that it is undesirable for the person to engage in the relevant activity or activities; and

(b)

the SRA is satisfied that disqualification is a proportionate outcome in the public interest.

3.4

In considering whether to make a disciplinary decision to disqualify a person from acting as a HOLP or HOFA, or being a manager or employee, the SRA shall take into account:

(a)

the criteria at appendix 3; and

(b)

any indicative guidance published by the SRA from time to time.

3.5

The SRA may make a disciplinary decision to publish details of a written rebuke or a direction to pay a penalty when it considers it to be in the public interest to do so in accordance with the publication criteria in appendix 2 to these rules.

3.6

Nothing in this rule shall prevent the SRA making an application to the Tribunal in accordance with rule 10.

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