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Decision-making criteria

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

Practising certificate, initial and renewal applications for a

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 initial and renewal applications for practising certificates and provides the criteria applied to such an application when reaching a decision.

The relevant provisions are:

  • S9 of the Solicitors Act 1974
  • S10 of the Solicitors Act 1974
  • S11 of the Solicitors Act 1974
  • The SRA Practising Regulations 2009

Criteria

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

  • The application has been made on the prescribed form.
  • The application is accompanied by the prescribed fee, as determined annually by the Law Society Council.
  • The prescribed contribution to the Compensation Fund been received.
  • Where the application is to renew the practising certificate the application been received on or before the renewal date, 31 October (annually).
  • Where the applicant is a manager (partner/partner equivalent) of a firm, they comply with the Solicitors' Indemnity Insurance Rules.
  • Where the applicant is subject to any part of regulation 3 of the SRA Practising Regulations due consideration will be given to that part of the regulation.
  • The application form is personally signed by the applicant unless:
    • a solicitor or registered European lawyer (REL) has been given written permission by the SRA in exceptional circumstances, to sign on the applicant's behalf; or
    • the application is made wholly or partly on a prescribed form which is designed to be completed and signed on behalf of a number of applicants in one firm or organisation. In that case, the form must be signed by a solicitor or REL who:
      • is a manager (partner/partner equivalent) of the firm:
      • is authorised to sign the form by the firm or organisation;
      • has the consent of all the persons named in the form to sign the form on their behalf; and
      • has taken reasonable steps to ensure that all details given on the form are correct and complete.
  • Any additional information, documents and references as specified by the SRA has been received.
  • Where the applicant applies with the intention of practising on a permanent basis in the UK , they are legally entitled to do so.
  • Where the applicant is applying for renewal of their practising certificate, due consideration will be given to any conditions that may already be imposed on their practising certificate.

Example

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

Initial application

Having recently qualified and been granted admission to the Roll, an applicant applies for their first PC in order to commence practising.

The applicant has been working as a para-legal at a firm of solicitors since admittion.

A completed application form is submitted along with the payment for a PC.

There is no previous adverse regulatory history in respect of the individual.

In this case, the applicant has not submitted payment for their contribution to the Compensation Fund. We therefore bring this to their attention; the application is placed on hold until the appropriate payment is received.

The applicant later submits the correct additional payment.

The application is now complete in accordance with regulation 1.1 of the SRA Practising Regulations 2009 and we are satisfied that a PC an be granted.

Renewal

A solicitor partner working within a recognised body partnership applies to renew their PC BY 31 October. This is in compliance with the Solicitors’ Act 1974 and SRA Practising Regulations 2009 whereby applications are made on an annual basis.

A completed application form is submitted along with payment for a PC. The applicant has asked their ‘Firm Contact’ to sign the form on their behalf. This is acceptable.

There is no previous adverse regulatory history in respect of the applicant, other than an accountant’s report received late in the 12 months prior to 31 October. However, we had received a waiver application within the appropriate timescales, and the waiver had been granted.

The appropriate fee for the PC and Compensation Fund contribution is received with the application.

The application is therefore complete in accordance with regulation 1.1 of the SRA Practising Regulations 2009.

The PC is granted with effect from 1 November, the application having been received prior to the 31 October deadline.