Decision-making criteria

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

Non-lawyer manager, approval of an individual as suitable

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 applications by firms and proposed non-lawyer managers for approval as a non-lawyer manager.

The relevant provisions are:

  • Regulation 3 of the SRA Recognised Bodies Regulations 2009
  • Rule 14 of the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007


The following criteria are relevant when considering such an application, but are not an exhaustive list:

  • The prescribed application form has been completed in full
  • The application is accompanied by the prescribed fee, as determined annually by the SRA Board
  • The applicant’s declaration has been signed by an existing or, where the applicant is a prospective recognised body, by a proposed solicitor or REL manager of the applicant
  • The candidate’s declaration has been signed by the proposed non-lawyer manager
  • A standard CRB disclosure has been received
  • The applicant complies with, or where the applicant is a prospective recognised body, the applicant will comply with the management and control requirements of rule 14.01(3)
  • The candidate is not a member (practising or non-practising of any profession coming within the meaning of lawyer of England and Wales (including a solicitor)
  • The candidate is not an REL
  • The candidate is not an RFL
  • The candidate is not an exempt European lawyer
  • The candidate is not a member (practising or non-practising) of any profession eligible for approval by the SRA under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 14 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990
  • Having considered regulation 3.3(a) and (b) of the SRA Recognised Bodies Regulations 2009, the decision-maker is satisfied the proposed non-lawyer is suitable to be involved in the provision of legal services and to exercise influence over the conduct of the applicant’s business
  • The decision-maker is satisfied as to the character and suitability of the proposed non-lawyer
  • The application is made by a recognised body or by a prospective recognised body applying for initial recognition
  • Any additional information, documents and references as specified by the SRA has been received


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

The candidate (proposed non-lawyer) is employed by a Law Practice as its Financial Director. The individual is not qualified as a lawyer in any jurisdiction.

The candidate has worked in their existing capacity for 12 years and has not been subject to Section 43 of the Solicitors' Act 1974 – an order requiring our approval to employ them.

The application confirms the candidate does not have any adverse issues of character and suitability, such as having been adjudged bankrupt.

The candidate submits an original clear disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau and has signed their part of the declaration.

The applicant's declaration is signed by a solicitor or REL manager of the firm in which the candidate applies for approval to become a non-lawyer manager.

The firm has a minimum of 75% lawyer managers in post.

The appropriate fee for the application is received.

The application is granted on the date of decision.