Decision-making criteria

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

Employment, partnership, membership, directorship or management of solicitors, RELs or RFLs, decision to approve subject to conditions

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

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 consider applications for approval of employment, partnership, membership, directorship or management of solicitors, RELs or RFLs who are subject to conditions on their practising certificate or registration.

The relevant statutory provisions are:


The decision-maker will take into account:

  • The firm's regulatory history with the SRA.
  • The regulatory history of the solicitor, REL or managers of the firm and those employed by it.
  • The arrangements in place to supervise members of staff.
  • The details of the job description and arrangements for supervision of the solicitor, REL or RFL subject to the condition.
  • Whether the solicitor, REL or RFL subject to the condition will be responsible for clients money, supervision of other staff.

Applications for approval will be refused if the decision-maker is not satisfied with the arrangements and/or the firm.


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

A solicitor in private practice for five years has become involved in practices that have been brought to our notice; the result is that a condition has been placed on his practising certificate providing that he may act as a solicitor only in employment first approved by the SRA.

The solicitor has been offered a job as an assistant solicitor with AB Solicitors LLP and has asked us for approval in accordance with the condition on his practising certificate.

In deciding whether to approve the proposed employment we will consider the solicitor’s regulatory history and, in particular, the circumstances leading to the condition being imposed to assess what risk the condition was addressing. We will also consider the regulatory history of AB Solicitors LLP, their general supervision and management arrangements and the specific details of the solicitor’s proposed role and the arrangements for his personal supervision. If satisfied that any risks posed are going to be properly managed we may decide to grant approval.