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Decision-making criteria

This set of criteria was archived on 5 October 2012 as part of our Transformation Programme.

Accountant's report, decision to extend or refuse to extend time in which to deliver

Principles of regulatory decision-making, approved by the SRA Board, provide a set of standards applicable to decisions.

The reasons given by a decision-maker will normally include specific criteria applicable to the decision. SRA Policies relevant to decision-making are reflected in the criteria.

Scope of this document

This document applies to decisions to extend or refuse to extend time in which to deliver an accountant's report to us.

The relevant rules are the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998.

Criteria

When determining an application, the following criteria are relevant but are not exhaustive:

  • The application must be made prior to the due date for delivery of the report.
  • Any risk to the public in allowing further time to deliver the report.
  • Whether the request is for over 3 months (collectively).
  • Any previous disciplinary record and history regarding delivery of accountant's reports.
  • Any previous requests for extensions in relation to this or other accountant's reports.
  • Where relevant, any discretion we have to grant, impose conditions on, or refuse, the issue of a practising certificate or registration.
  • Any outstanding complaints.
  • Whether the firm holds qualifying insurance.
  • Correspondence sent in support of the application.
  • Any hardship to the applicant if required to deliver the report on time.

Example

The example below is illustrative and does not set any type of precedent. Each matter is considered on its own facts and merits.

On 20 August 2010 Mr G asks us to grant him an extension of the time in which the accountants' report for his firm is to be delivered. The report is for the year ending 31 March 2010 and is due to be delivered by 30 September 2010. Mr G requests a twelve month extension to 30 September 2011.

Mr G explains that in early April 2010 his former partner, Mr H, left the firm without notice leaving Mr G to run the practice alone. Mr G realised quickly that there were problems with the accounts involving improper transfers undertaken by Mr H. Mr G decided he had to close the firm.

Mr G had notified us of the closure immediately, involving his accountants and insurers too. It was apparent it would take some considerable time to sort things out and Mr G therefore requested a twelve month extension for delivering the accountants report.

We will need more specific information before granting such a long extension and will require input from the accountants and from the indemnity insurers to explain why the report cannot be prepared and delivered. We will also require an estimate of the time scale involved.

It is likely an extension will be granted although it is possible that initially the extension might be granted for six months enabling us to review at that stage.