SRA Handbook

Reconsideration and appeals

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

Part 8: Reconsideration and appeals

Rule 29: Reconsideration

29.1

The SRA may reconsider a decision made under these rules when it appears that the decision maker:

(a)

was not provided with material evidence that was available to the SRA;

(b)

was materially misled;

(c)

failed to take proper account of material facts or evidence;

(d)

took into account immaterial facts or evidence;

(e)

made a material error of law;

(f)

made a decision which was otherwise irrational or procedurally unfair;

(g)

made a decision which was otherwise ultra vires; or

(h)

failed to give sufficient reasons.

29.2

A decision may be reconsidered under Rule 29.1 only on the initiative of the SRA.

29.3

The SRA, when considering the exercise of its powers under this rule, may also give directions for:

(a)

further investigations to be undertaken;

(b)

further information or explanation to be obtained from any person; and

(c)

the reconsideration to be undertaken by the original decision maker or by a different decision maker or panel.

Rule 30: Appeals by legal services bodies or sole practitioners

30.1

A legal services body or a sole practitioner which is the subject of any decision in (a)-(b) below may invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure:

(a)

against the SRA's decision to modify or refuse an application for modification of the terms and conditions of an authorisation under Rule 10;

(b)

before exercising its right of appeal to the High Court:

(i)

against refusal of authorisation, under paragraph 2(1)(a) or paragraph 2(1A)(a) of Schedule 2 to the AJA;

(ii)

against the imposition of a condition on its authorisation, under paragraph 2(1)(b) or (c) or paragraph 2(1A)(b) or (c) of that Schedule; or

(iii)

against refusal by the SRA to approve a step which, under a condition on the body's authorisation, requires such prior approval, under paragraph 2(2) or paragraph 2(2A) of that Schedule.

30.2

A legal services body or a sole practitioner which is the subject of any decision in (a)-(c) below and/or the person who is the subject of any decision in (a)-(c) below, may invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure against the SRA's decision:

(a)

not to approve the person to be a manager, owner or compliance officer of a legal services body or a sole practitioner's practice under Rules 8.5(b) or (d) or 8.6(a);

(b)

to approve the person to be a manager, owner or compliance officer of a legal services body or a sole practitioner's practice under Rules 8.5(b) or (d) or 8.6(a) subject to conditions on the authorised body's authorisation; or

(c)

to withdraw its approval of the person to be a manager, owner or compliance officer of the body under Rule 17 or Rule 18.

(d)

A legal services body or a sole practitioner may appeal to the High Court against the SRA's decision to suspend or revoke the authorised body's authorisation, but must first invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure.

30.3

A legal services body, treated as such in accordance with Rule 22.3 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules, which is the subject of any decision in (a)-(b) below and/or the person who is the subject of any decision in (a)-(b) below, may appeal to the High Court against the SRA's decision:

(a)

not to approve the individual as suitable to be a non-lawyer manager of the body under Rule 8.6(a); and

(b)

to withdraw its approval of the individual as suitable to be a non-lawyer manager of the body under Rule 17;

but must first invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure, and for the purposes of 30.4 and 30.6(c) "non-lawyer" means an individual who is not listed in Rule 22.4(d)(i) of the SRA Practice Framework Rules.

30.4

Deemed refusal

(a)

An application by a legal services body or a sole practitioner for authorisation under Rule 4 is deemed, for the purpose of any appeal under Rule 30.1(b) above, to be refused on the day of the expiry of the decision period, if by the end of that day the SRA has not notified the applicant of its decision.

(b)

An application for approval of a person under Part 4 is deemed, for the purpose of any appeal under Rule 30.4(a) above, to be refused on the day of the expiry of the decision period, if by the end of that day the SRA has not notified the applicant or authorised body as appropriate, and the person who is the subject of the approval, of its decision.

30.5

If an appeal is made to the High Court in relation to a decision made in respect of a legal services body or a sole practitioner's practice to:

(a)

impose conditions on an authorisation under Rule 9;

(b)

modify terms and conditions of an authorisation under Rule 10;

(c)

withdraw approval of a non-lawyer manager under 30.4; or

(d)

revoke or suspend a body's authorisation;

the appellant may apply to the High Court for a stay of the decision pending the determination or discontinuance of the appeal, and if the High Court imposes an order for a stay in relation to a decision, the SRA shall stay the decision accordingly.

Guidance note

(i)

Rule 30.5 allows an applicant or authorised body to regard their application as refused on certain dates to allow an appeal to be commenced. However, this is only for the purpose of ensuring the body has appeal rights and despite the deemed refusal the SRA may still determine the application.

Rule 31: Appeals by licensable bodies

31.1

A licensable body which is the subject of any decision in (a)-(b) below may appeal to the appellate body against:

(a)

the SRA's decision to:

(i)

refuse an application for authorisation;

(ii)

impose a condition on an authorisation;

(iii)

revoke or suspend a body's authorisation;

(iv)

refuse to approve a step which, under a condition on the body's authorisation, requires such prior approval;

(v)

modify or refuse an application for modification of the terms and conditions of an authorisation under Rule 10; or

(b)

the SRA's failure to make a decision within the decision period;

but must first invoke the SRA's own appeal procedure.

31.2

A licensable body which makes the application for approval pursuant to Rule 8.5 or 8.6 and/or the person who is the subject of the application for approval may appeal to the appellate body against the SRA's decision:

(a)

not to approve the person to be a manager or compliance officer of the body under Rules 8.5(b) or (d) or 8.6(a);

(b)

to approve the person to be a manager or compliance officer of the body under Rules 8.5(b) or (d) or 8.6(a) subject to conditions on the body's authorisation; or

(c)

to withdraw its approval of the person to be a manager or compliance officer of the body under Rule 17 or 18;

but must first invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure.

31.3

Any person who is the subject of any decision in (a)-(c) below may invoke the SRA's own appeals procedure, before exercising their right of appeal to the appellate body:

(a)

against the SRA's imposition of a financial penalty, under section 96 of the LSA;

(b)

against the SRA's imposition of conditions on an authorisation in connection with its approval of a person being an owner of a licensed body, under paragraphs 18, 29 or 34 of Schedule 13 to the LSA; or

(c)

against the SRA's decision not to approve, or its decision to withdraw its approval of, a person being an owner of a licensed body, under paragraphs 20, 32 or 37 of Schedule 13 to the LSA.

31.4

If an appeal is made to the appellate body in relation to a decision in respect of a licensable body to:

(a)

impose conditions on an authorisation under Rule 9;

(b)

modify terms and conditions of an authorisation under Rule 10;

(c)

withdraw approval of an owner, manager, COLP or COFA;

(d)

revoke or suspend a body's authorisation; or

(e)

impose conditions on the holding of an interest under paragraph 28 or 33 of Schedule 13 of the LSA;

the appellant may apply to the appellate body for a stay of the decision pending the determination or discontinuance of the appeal, and if the appellate body imposes an order for a stay in relation to a decision, the SRA shall stay the decision accordingly.

Rule 32: Appeals - general provisions

32.1

Appeals under the SRA's own appeals procedure in respect of a decision made under these rules must be made within 28 days of:

(a)

notification of the SRA's decision and reasons;

(b)

deemed refusal under Rule 30.5 above; or

(c)

expiry of the decision period or extension notice under Rule 5;

as applicable.

32.2

Unless otherwise provided in rules of the High Court or the Legal Services Board or in the relevant decision, an appeal to the High Court or appellate body in respect of a decision made under these rules must be made:

(a)

within the period of 28 days from the date on which the notice of the decision that is subject to appeal is given to the appellant;

(b)

within the period of 28 days from the date on which the notice of the refusal of an appeal under the SRA's own appeals procedure is given; or

(c)

within the period of 28 days from the date on which the notice of the decision to impose a condition under the SRA's own appeals procedure is given;

as appropriate.

32.3

An appeal under the SRA's own appeals procedure under Rules 30.2(a), 30.4(a) or 31.2(a), or against the SRA's decision to refuse an approval under Rule 31.3(c), shall be treated as an application for the purpose of these rules.

32.4

If an appeal is made under:

(a)

Rules 30.2(c), 30.4(b), 31.2(c) or 31.3(c), against the SRA's decision to withdraw an approval; or

(b)

Rules 30.3 or 31.1(a)(iii), against the SRA's decision to revoke or suspend an authorisation under Rule 22;

before the decision takes effect, the decision shall not take effect pending the determination or discontinuance of the appeal, unless in the opinion of the SRA the proceedings on that appeal have been unduly protracted by the appellant or are unlikely to be successful.

32.5

Any decision referred to in Rule 30.6 and 31.4 which is made by the SRA may include a direction that the condition, modification, withdrawal, revocation or suspension shall not take effect until the determination or discontinuance of any appeal.

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