SRA Handbook


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

Rule 12: Waivers


Subject to Rule 12.2 below and to provisions in any enactments or the SRA's regulatory arrangements affecting its ability to waive any requirements, the SRA shall have power to waive in writing the provisions of these rules for a particular purpose or purposes expressed in such waiver, and to attach conditions to or revoke such waiver, at its own discretion.


The SRA shall not have power to waive any of the provisions of Rule 8.1 with respect to any authorised bodies.


The SRA shall not have power to grant a waiver under Rule 12 in respect of the reserved legal activities that an authorised body is entitled to carry on or any conditions of authorisation imposed under Rule 9.

Guidance notes


A waiver cannot be granted where to do so would run counter to the overall purpose of the rule. In addition, many of the requirements set out in various Acts such as the LSA and AJA are mandatory provisions which, in spite of Rule 12, the SRA does not have the power to waive. The following are examples from the LSA:




Schedule 11 paragraph 11-14 - the rules must include that a licensed body must at all times have an individual designated as Head of Legal Practice and one designated as Head of Finance and Administration (in these rules referred to as COLP and COFA). This designation must be approved by the SRA, which must be satisfied that the designated individuals are suitable to carry out the duties. Rule 8.5 reflects this and therefore cannot be waived;


Schedule 11 paragraph 17 - rules must provide that the licensed body must at all times have suitable arrangements in place to ensure that it, its managers and employees comply with the regulatory arrangements, and that any employees carrying out legal activities will maintain the professional principles. Rule 8.1 reflects this and therefore cannot be waived.


Duration, suspension, modification and revocation of licence


Schedule 11 paragraph 26(1) - rules must provide criteria for the SRA to use in deciding whether to suspend, revoke or end the suspension of a licence. Rule 22 reflects this and therefore cannot be waived.


A waiver of these rules "in writing" includes any form of written electronic communication normally used for business purposes, such as emails.

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