Research and reports

Last updated 20 December 2017

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Annual reports

Equality and diversity

We publish annual diversity monitoring reports and other reports on our equality and diversity work, including progress reports.

Regulatory activities reports

From 2008 to 2014, we published quarterly reports for our stakeholders on the outcomes of our regulatory activities. The December 2014 report concludes the series of quarterly reporting. Our latest Annual Review now covers our core regulatory data, as well as other information.

Separately, we continue to publish on a monthly basis key statistics about the population of solicitors and firms we regulate.

Price transparency in the legal services market

January 2018

We conducted this research to inform our thinking on whether we should make firms publish price information, and if so, how. Specifically, we sought to identify what type of information would be most useful for firms to publish, and how firms should present this information to consumers.

Read more about the research and download the reports  

Authorisation and monitoring activity September 2015 to August 2016

December 2017

The purpose of this report is to tell our stakeholders about the outcomes of our quality assurance activity in relation to education and training. Unless otherwise stated, it relates to the period 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016. This reflects the higher education academic year.

Read more about the research and download the report

Personal injury

December 2017

This PI project is one of the ways in which we are increasing our understanding of this part of the legal sector and working to improve the experience for the users of legal services.

Read more about the research and download the report

First tier complaints handling processes

December 2017

We and the Legal Ombudsman jointly commissioned London Economics and YouGov to conduct independent research into the experience of people making complaints about solicitors’ legal services.

Read more about the research and download the report

Unlocking the benefits of diversity

October 2017

We wanted to understand what is being done, and what can be done, to improve the representation of female and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) solicitors in senior roles such as partners or directors.

Read more about the research and download the report

Mapping advantages and disadvantages: Diversity in the legal profession in England and Wales

October 2017

We commissioned independent quantitative research on solicitor career progression and how it is influenced by gender and ethnicity. The work, conducted by the University of Leeds and Newcastle University Business School, used our data from 1970 to 2016 to undertake a statistical analysis of how solicitors’ careers have progressed since admission to the Roll.

Read more about the research and download the report

Experiences of consumers who may be vulnerable in family law

March 2017

From the perspective of legal firms and consumers, this research explores the accessibility, cost and quality of family law services in the context of recent legal aid reforms. The findings offer insight into the experiences of potentially vulnerable users of family law services.

Read more about the research and download the report

Asylum report: The quality of legal service provided to asylum seekers

December 2016

In this report, we set out the results of our thematic asylum project (the project). This review was undertaken in the light of the findings of independent research we commissioned in 2014, reported in the, 'Quality of legal services for asylum seekers', published in January 2016 (the research paper).

Read more about the research and download the report

An assessment of the market for Personal Injury

October 2016

Our report assessing Personal Injury (PI) legal services has provided us with a detailed and up to date understanding of how this market is functioning following the introduction of legislative reforms under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

Read more about the research and download the report

Authorisation and monitoring activity September 2014 to August 2015

September 2016

The purpose of this report is to tell our stakeholders about the outcomes of our quality assurance activity in relation to education and training. Unless otherwise stated, it relates to the period 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015. This reflects the higher education academic year.

Read more about the research and download the report

Solicitors' professional standards (A Question of Trust)

July 2016

We commissioned academics from University College London to help us develop and delivery a survey of solicitors to test their approach to ethical and regulatory scenarios. That work led to a much wider campaign called A Question of Trust in which we asked solicitors and the public how serious they thought different issues were, such as misusing client money, mishandling clients confidential information or being rude to clients. This work is now being used to help us develop our approach to regulation and in particular how we set, maintain and enforce against professional standards.

Read more about the research and download the report

Anti money laundering report

May 2016

In September 2014, we announced our plan to undertake a thematic review of anti money laundering (AML) compliance by solicitors. The principal aim was to gain knowledge and understanding of the AML compliance policies, procedures and controls implemented by a wide range of law firms, and determine how effectively firms were managing risks in this area. We also wanted to ensure that solicitors and their firms were fully aware of their statutory and regulatory obligations in relation to AML, and were up to date on forthcoming changes, such as the 4th Money Laundering Directive. This report outlines what we found and also includes several examples of the good and poor practices that we encountered.

Download the report (PDF 37 pages, 316K)

Independent regulation of solicitors: Public opinion poll findings

February 2016

ComRes interviewed 1,810 adults in England and Wales online, in mid-January 2016, about their views on the regulation of solicitors. The poll found widespread support for the idea of solicitors being regulated independently (82 per cent), compared to just 6 per cent of adults in England and Wales who say that solicitors should be self-regulated.

Download the headline findings (PDF 11 pages, 552K)

Download the data tables (PDF 20 pages, 264K)

Quality of legal services for asylum seekers

January 2016

The SRA commissioned a consortium, led by Migration Work CIC, to undertake research on the quality of legal advice provided to asylum seekers. The study involved speaking with 123 asylum seekers, an online survey of solicitors, and interviews with solicitors, community groups and representative bodies. Previous research had identified a lack of understanding about the market for immigration advice, highlighted the complexity of regulation in this area of law and raised concerns about the detriment to asylum seekers of poor quality advice.

Read more about the research and download the report

Research on lawyer-client relationships in large firms: Impact on independence, risk and representation

October 2015

Researchers interviewed 53 senior corporate and finance lawyers from 20 of the largest corporate law firms in England and Wales to understand how the lawyer-client relationships works in larger firms. The study focuses on

  • how these relationships impact, or may impact, professional independence, ethics, standards and risk,
  • how risk is transferred to firms under client terms of engagement, and how effective firms are at identifying, monitoring and mitigating potential liability, and
  • whether powerful clients are influencing their law firm's engagement decisions.

Read more about the research and download the report

Innovation in legal services: A report for the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Services Board

July 2015

The legal services sector plays a critical role in facilitating commercial and domestic activity and in administering justice. Innovation in the sector in the form of new services or better ways of delivering existing services has the potential to deliver significant social value. This report is the first major attempt to examine innovation in the legal services sector using a large-scale survey. Read the executive summary and download the report

Education and Training: A report on authorisation and monitoring activity

May 2015

Responsibility for developing the framework for the education and training of solicitors sits within the SRA's regulatory policy unit. We also undertake the authorisation and routine monitoring of education and training providers. The purpose of this report is to tell our stakeholders about the outcomes of our quality assurance activity in relation to education and training. It captures authorisation of training providers, including firms and higher education providers. The report covers the period 1 September 2013 to 31 August 2014. Read the report

Research into alternative business structures

May 2014

We have carried out research to explore how ABSs are "doing things differently", how this may lead to future impacts on the legal services sector, and the experience of firms that applied for an ABS licence from the SRA.

An executive report brings together the headline findings of two pieces of research. Read the executive report

The full research papers include


Review of SRA Regulatory Management: Survey findings report

March 2014

This report examines the effect of our approach to supervising high-impact firms, otherwise referred to as Regulatory Management (RM). It aims to identify the impacts to date of RM on the regulated community and set a baseline from which future impacts can be measured.


Research on the role of in-house solicitors

February 2014

The SRA commissioned Oxera to conduct economic research into the role of in-house solicitors. There are now 25,600 solicitors working in-house, twice the number in 2000 and representing 18 per cent of the solicitor population. The aim of the research was to provide a detailed map of the supply of, and demand for, legal services by in-house solicitors. This will help the SRA understand emerging regulatory risks and the challenges that in-house solicitors face.


Measuring the impact of outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) on firms

Based on a telephone survey of 1,000 solicitors, this report examines the impact of OFR on the firms we regulate.


Research on attitudes to regulation and compliance in legal services

The SRA is keen to build an understanding of changes in attitudes to compliance arising from the introduction of outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) in October 2011. For this purpose, we formed a 'baseline' of attitudes towards compliance against which to measure the impact of OFR over time.

The two documents below were published on 29 February 2012.


Consumer reports

In 2012—2013 we have worked hard on communicating with, and improving our service for, consumers. This progress report looks at the highlights of the past eighteen months work and our plans for the future.

A better deal for consumers: The story of the SRA's consumer empowerment work 2012-13 and looking ahead to what's next.

Consumer research reports

Our consumer research studies are key to developing our engagement with our stakeholders.

View reports  

Supervision: Thematic project reports

Conveyancing thematic study

In 2012, we undertook 100 visits with firms of solicitors that provide conveyancing services. The visits looked at the ways that these services are delivered, marketed and charged for.

This report, dated March 2013, summarises the findings from these visits and highlights implications for the SRA's strategy for regulating firms engaged in conveyancing.

Thematic study of compliance with Principle 9

In the latter part of 2012, we carried out thematic supervision visits with firms to find out what arrangements they had in place to meet Principle 9

This report, dated April 2013, summarises the findings from these visits and indicates some of the broad trends.


QLTS report

In July 2012 the SRA commissioned a review of the current QLTS single assessment body model. ICF GHK conducted an independent evidence based review of QLTS through a desk-based review of high stakes assessment approaches in addition to a series of consultations with providers and regulators. Read the report (PDF 49 pages, 616K)

Review of the Compensation Fund

The Financial Protection Committee has completed its 18-month review of the Compensation Fund. Their report is now available to download.

View executive summary

Review of SRA client financial protection arrangements

In July 2010, the SRA commissioned Charles River Associates (CRA) to undertake a "roots and branch" review of the current financial protection arrangements. The review considers the scope of protection offered to the consumers (including "sophisticated" consumers such as financial institutions) of legal services, the means by which that protection is delivered, and the impact of those arrangements on consumers, individual firms, the legal services sector as a whole, and the SRA itself. Given the impending changes to the legal services sector, the review also considers alternative business structures (ABS) as part of the population of firms for any proposed financial protection arrangements.

This report is not SRA policy, and is currently under consideration by the SRA with a view to entering wider consultation in December 2010 on any proposed changes to financial protection arrangements for 2011 and beyond.

View executive summary

Download full report (PDF 189 pages, 1.2MB)

The SRA's response to the Independent Complaints Resolution Service's annual report

In October 2010, following a tender process, the SRA appointed the Independent Complaints Resolution Service (ICRS) to provide a final independent response to individual complaints and to oversee the way we carry out our complaints handling function.

This document sets out the SRA's response to the findings and recommendations made by the ICRS in their 2010/2011 annual report.

View SRA's response to the ICRS's annual report.

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